Email Phishing With Digital Background
Home ScamsPhishing Scams ‘Update IRS E-File’ Phishing Scam

‘Update IRS E-File’ Phishing Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Email purporting to be from the Internal Revenue Service demands that recipients click a link to update their IRS e-file.

Brief Analysis

The email is not from the IRS. It is a phishing scam designed to steal personal and financial information. Links in the message open a fraudulent website designed to look like a genuine IRS page. Scam emails claiming to be from tax agencies are common.  If you receive one of these emails, do not click any links or open any attachments that it contains.

Example

Subject: Attention ::: View Return Status (IRS.gov)

From: IRS.gov <IRSgovIRS-gov@outlook.com>

IRS.gov
**********
Internal Revenue Service.
you are to update your IRS e-file immediately, To Update –  < Click Here >

USA.gov is the U.S. government’s official web portal.
IRS e-file. Since 1990
****************************

IRS eFile Scam Email

 

Detailed Analysis

According to this email, which claims to be from America’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS), recipients must click a link to update their IRS e-file immediately.

The message does not provide a reason why the update is necessary, but its rather threatening tone implies that complying is important.

However, the email is certainly not from the IRS and the claim that users must update their tax details is a lie.
The email is a phishing scam designed to trick recipients into sending their personal and financial information to cybercriminals. The criminals hope that at least a few recipients, panicked into believing that they may be in trouble with the IRS, will click the link and supply the requested information without due caution. Those who do click the link will be taken to a website that has been designed to mirror an official IRS page. Once on the bogus site, they will be asked to fill in various forms, ostensibly to update their file and avoid repercussions. The forms will ask for personal and ID information as well as banking and credit card data.

All of the information will be collected by criminals and used to commit financial fraud and identity theft.

Phishing scams purporting to be from various tax agencies around the world are very common.  Many of the scam messages claim that recipients can apply for an unexpected tax refund by clicking a link and supplying their information.

Be very wary of any message that purports to be from your government’s tax agency that instructs you to click a link or open an attached file to update details or claim a refund.

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer