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Republic of the Philippines
National Police Commission
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE
ANTI-CYBERCRIME GROUP
Camp BGen Rafael T Crame, Quezon City
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ACG-CYBER SECURITY BULLETIN NR 253: BE WARY OF INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (IRS) IMPERSONATION SCAM

Reference Number ACG-CSB 061322253

         The following information was obtained from different cyber security sources for notification to all parties concerned pursuant to the mandate of the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP ACG) and classified as Restricted pursuant to the PNP Regulation 200-012 on Document Security and Impact Rating as high based on PNP Information Communication Technology (ICT) Security Manual s.2010-01 p. 22 and p.129.

SUMMARY

   Internal Revenue Service (IRS) impersonation scam is a class of telecommunications fraud and scam by pretending to be IRS collection officers. The scammers operate by placing disturbing official-sounding calls to unsuspecting citizens, threatening them with arrest and frozen assets to obtain money by falsely representing that the victims owe back taxes or other fees. The scammers often request payment in the form of gift cards such as Google Play or iTunes cards, wire transfer, MoneyGram or credit card.

   Scammers often send scam emails which display the IRS logo and use subject lines such as "Tax Refund Payment" or "Recalculation of tax refund payment." It asks people to click a link and provide their Social Security Numbers (SSN), birthday, address, driver's license number and other personal information to submit a fake form to allegedly claim their refund.

   This email attempts to steal information that could lead to identity theft, the attacker uses professional language and a spoofed “irs.gov” domain to craft a credible impersonation of the IRS. In addition, the attached form looks very similar to the actual tax form. If one does not investigate closely enough, they might not detect the added malicious fields.

   Scammers can make a caller ID phone number that looks like coming from anywhere including from the IRS, the local police or some other intimidating source. But the IRS does not leave prerecorded voicemails, especially ones that claim to be urgent or are threatening. Also, the IRS cannot revoke driver’s license, business licenses or immigration status.

   Scammers are always on the lookout for an opportunity to make a quick buck, and tax season is ripe with scammers looking to trick people into handing over money. It is essential to be vigilant when receiving a communication from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) because a letter or a call from the “government” may not be all it seems.

   The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. In many variations of the phone scam, victims are told if they do not call back, a warrant will be issued for their arrest. Other verbal threats include law-enforcement agency intervention, deportation, or revocation of licenses.

   The IRS reaches out to taxpayers through regular mail, not phone calls, texts, or email messages and IRS agents will never call and ask for Social Security Number or other personal information. It is safe to assume that if anyone is asking for bank or personal information it is a scam. Never five out personal information to anyone on the internet who contacts directly. If making a financial transaction online, make sure doing it on a secure server and through a reputable site.

RECOMMENDATION

            All PNP personnel as well as the public are advised to follow these tips to avoid being a victim of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Impersonation Scam:

  • Do not give your financial or other personal information;
  • Do not trust your caller ID;
  • Do not click on links in unexpected emails or text messages;
  • Do not call back the number the caller gives you;
  • Never trust IRS phone calls;
  • Use complex passwords;
  • Do not respond to requests for money through email, phone calls or SMS;
  • Install anti-malware to block phishing emails/websites and prevent malware downloads; and
  • Double-check the sender’s contact details.

For additional information, please refer to the following websites:

  • https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-warning-scammers-work-year-round-stay-vigilant
  • https://www.irs.gov/identity-theft-central
  • https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/taxes/avoid-irs-scams#the-latest-irs-scams-1711016498
  • https://abnormalsecurity.com/blog/irs-tax-form-scam

POINT OF CONTACT

            Please contact PMAJ JUN-JUN S DAGURO, Police Community Relations Officer thru e-mail address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact us on telephone number (632) 8723-0401 local 7483 for any inquiries related to this CYBER SECURITY BULLETIN.