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Danger level 3
Type: Other

IRS Online Scam

IRS Online Scam might be targeted at employees of various organizations and businesses. Therefore, it is unlikely it could reach regular home users. The scammers behind the attack may send their targeted victims malicious email attachments. Of course, the cybercriminals might make it look as if the attached file is a simple text document or another harmless attachment. Unfortunately, users who fall for this trick and interact with the malicious file might infect their computers with a vicious Trojan called Emotet. If you believe you may have received an email associated with the IRS Online Scam, we advise learning more about it by reading the rest of our article. As for instructions on what you should do if you received the suspicious attachment or interacted with it, we encourage you to have a look at the removal steps located below.

Since it is most likely that IRS Online Scam emails are sent to various businesses and organizations, it is likely the hackers gain the needed email addresses from the Internet. Afterward, all that is left to do is create a convincing message and send it to targeted victims. According to our researchers, there are lots of variants of such letters. Apparently, hackers might pretend to be employees of another organization or a targeted company’s customers. Depending on the scenario, the hackers’ emails may talk about business matters, customers’ complaints, or even holiday greetings. Cybercriminals behind these emails can be very creative.

For instance, one of the IRS Online Scam emails samples we encountered contained a message mentioning Internal Revenue Service, Treasury Department, and IRS Help desk with a toll-free telephone number (1-866-824-8183). Same as other IRS Online Scam email messages it contained a Microsoft Word document. No doubt a lot of users may not think that a text file could be so dangerous, which could lead to opening such data. It is important to stress that the infected document should not install the earlier mentioned Trojan even if it was launched. What the cybercriminals need their victims to do is press the Enable Content button that ought to be displayed on the malicious document. To convince a victim to do so, the document might claim it was created “in online version of Microsoft Office Word” and that to view it, a user has to click the mentioned button.

Unfortunately, clicking Enable Content should run a macro command that ought to install a Trojan known as Emotet. What victims should know about this malicious application is that it can gather sensitive information and download more malware on infected devices, so it can cause a lot of trouble. Also, our researchers say that it might be extremely difficult to locate data belonging to the threat, which means deleting it manually could be tricky. Apparently, the malicious application might install itself in one directory and then move its data to another location. The following directories are most likely places for Emotet to hide: %WINDIR%, %WINDIR%\System32, %WINDIR%\SysWOW64, %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft, %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows, %APPDATA%\Microsoft, and %APPDATA%.

Needless to say that those who receive IRS Online Scam emails should best ignore them. However, if you did get it and not only opened its attached file, but also clicked the Enable Content button, you may have to clean your system from malware. While it is possible to erase the malicious attachment manually, we believe it might be too difficult to remove Emotet on your own too. What we mean to say is that after you delete the infected document as shown in the instructions available below, it might be best to employ a reliable antimalware tool. We advise performing a full system scan during which the chosen tool ought to locate Emotet and other possible threats. Then click the given deletion button, and your security tool should erase all identified threats.

Get rid of IRS Online Scam

  1. Click Ctrl+Alt+Delete.
  2. Choose Task Manager and select Processes.
  3. Find a process belonging to the threat.
  4. Mark it and click End Task.
  5. Exit Task Manager.
  6. Click Win+E.
  7. Find these paths:
  8. Locate the malicious application’s launcher (suspicious Microsoft Word document received via email).
  9. Right-click it and select Delete.
  10. Exit File Explorer.
  11. Empty Recycle Bin.
  12. Perform a full system scan with a reliable antimalware tool.
  13. Eliminate detected threats.
  14. Restart the computer.
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