Computer mouse

Computer mouse

State officials warn about a new email scam that purports to be from a government agency.

The latest email scam claims that the recipient owes a Wisconsin tax and could face additional penalties if they do not respond immediately. These emails falsely claim to be from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. Consumer Protection officials urge you to stop, and think it through. Never click on email attachments or links unless you’re certain it’s legitimate.

“Because they usually contain some kind of virus or spyware that allow a criminal to monitor your online activity, steal your personal information, maybe send spam, or —  in the worst case — commit fraud.”

Also, Sandy Chalmers with the state Department of Consumer Protection says opening certain attachments could damage your computer. Many similar emails are making the rounds.

“Most of them purport to be from a government agency. This one is supposedly from Department of Revenue. It says that you have fines for your income tax and click on the attachment to learn more, otherwise we’ll sue you.”

Cyber crooks usual make threatening statements and scare people into acting quickly. A red flag is the many blatant grammatical errors. One note said, “You has the fines for income tax — You gotta check out spreadsheet — otherwise, you’ll obtain lawsuit.” Chalmers says that type of shoddy English is a dead giveaway.

Also, the Revenue Department does not initiate taxpayer communications through email. Chalmers suggests you delete questionable emails, report scams to the Consumer Protection office, and call an agency directly if you have questions.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson 1:36

NOTE: For additional information or to file a complaint, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau online, send an e-mail or call the Consumer Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128. Connect with us on Facebook. Reporting the scam allows DATCP to send out a warning when they see waves of such messages bombarding consumers.

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