Fake IRS e-mail can ruin your computer

POSTED: Monday, October 24, 2011 - 11:21am

UPDATED: Monday, October 24, 2011 - 11:49am

An e-mail looks like an official notice from the government, but could wreak havoc with your computer.

It's going out nationwide, and it's under investigation by state and federal authorities.

Denzel Fearon is with the computer crimes unit of the New York State Police.

"Money. That's what they want," he says. "It lets the user know that a person has possibly been infected with a virus and in order to get rid of that virus you have to pay money to purchase what is a fake anti-virus removal program. And the way the software works, it's really quite damaging. Where it's very very hard to remove this program without making that purchase."

Another similar e-mail appears to be a speeding ticket issued by New York police.

The New York State Police are working with federal authorities to trace the e-mails.

Fearon says they might be coming from Eastern Europe.

In the meantime, he and the IRS are warning the public to be on the lookout.

"The IRS never contacts a taxpayer about their account over e-mail, so if you receive such a communication, chances are you're looking at a scam," warns IRS spokeswoman Dianne Besunder.

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