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  • Writer's pictureTheresa Valade

Scammers posing as IRS use credible emails to threaten victims

A fake IRS email targeting users of Microsoft’s Office 365 is making the rounds

The fake email claims it has been sent to collect payments. It also threatens to press legal charges.

Both the spoofed ‘’ sender domain and the specific IDs assigned to the recipient give the email a false sense of legitimacy. Additionally, the email creates a sense of authority through its tone and professional language.

That, combined with urgency – a key component of most legal scams – can cause victims to act rashly and pay off outstanding debts in order to avoid arrest. In this scam, the fraudster claims that they have contacted the person before and that the case has escalated. This is meant to provoke immediate action, as the recipient may feel they cannot delay their payment any longer.

The email also contains specific language such as unique account and loan numbers, as well as docket and warrant IDs. By using seemingly specific information, the attacker strengthens the legitimacy of the attack, increasing the likelihood of the victim engaging. And the language and the grammar – though not perfect -- are more convincing than usual.

There is a giveaway, however, as is the case with all scams. A closer look shows the emails' header is actually "“ The reply-to field redirects the replies to instead of the IRS support mailing address.

Here are most important things to remember.

1. Delete the message immediately. Don't click on links claiming to be from the IRS. Be wary of emails and websites − they may be nothing more than scams to steal personal information.

2. IRS will never initiate contact with taxpayers via email about a tax bill, refund or Economic Impact Payments.

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