How many times can we say that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will NOT email or telephone you? We will say it again. If you receive a telephone call, email or text from someone saying they are from the IRS, it is A SCAM. It’s that simple. If you don’t believe me, check out the IRS website which will this fact.

Imposters, fraudsters, and scammers have been launching scams scaring people into believing that they owe money or back taxes to the IRS for years, including threatening victims with arrest and jail.

Instead of relying on that old trick, the fraudsters are now targeting students and faculty with .edu emails with tag lines like “Tax Refund Payment” or “Recalculation of your tax refund payment.”

Students and faculty with .edu emails in higher education should know better, but unfortunately, the Federal Trade Commission has had to issue a warning to students and faculty that they are being targeted because some victims have been scammed.

If a victim clicks on the link to submit a form to receive the tax refund from the “IRS,” the form requests highly sensitive and useful information to the scammers to perpetrate identity theft, including name, address, Social Security number, driver’s license number, electronic filing PIN, and last year’s income. This is all information that can be easily used to file a fraudulent tax return in your name.

Don’t fall for any emails, telephone calls, or texts that say they are from the IRS. Delete, delete, delete! The IRS DOES NOT email, call, or text.  It is prime season for tax return and refund fraud, so be cautious and vigilant to protect yourself.

Baltimore County Public Schools shut down Monday and Tuesday following a ransomware attack that paralyzed the school system’s network last week right before Thanksgiving.

According to the Baltimore Sun, officials described the event as a “catastrophic attack on our technology system.” The ransomware attack is reported to have hit the entire Baltimore County Public Schools’ network on Wednesday. The attack caused the 115,000 students who were solely remote learning to have an extended Thanksgiving weekend as schools were shut Monday and Tuesday and will resume on Wednesday.

When resuming school tomorrow, the District is advising students and staff that they can use Chromebooks, but not Windows-based devices while the investigation is ongoing. Students and staff are performing a series of security checks on system-issued devices and any students who need a new device or assistance can get assistance at their local public high school.

According to social media accounts, some teachers have surmised that the ransomware strain involved in the attack is Ryuk, which is well- known to have been involved in previous attacks against municipalities and school systems.

At the present time, the attack is being investigated and it is unknown whether or not any personal student or employee information was compromised.