Avoid getting scammed by fake "IRS Crypto" websites

Also Known As: "IRS Crypto" crypto drainer scam
Damage level: Medium

What is the fake "IRS Crypto" website?

After inspecting "IRS Crypto", we determined that it is a scam. It imitates the IRS (Internal Revenue Service); specifically, it is presented as a portal for handling taxes on cryptocurrency.

When users connect their digital wallets to this fake website, it begins operating as a crypto drainer. Essentially, this scheme is designed to steal digital assets from victims.

IRS Crypto scam

IMPORTANT NOTE: We do not review crypto projects, please do your own research when investing money.

Federal Trade Comission (FTC) states that since the start of 2021, more than 46,000 people have reported losing over $1 billion in crypto to scams – that's about one out of every four dollars reported lost, more than any other payment method.

Fake "IRS Crypto" website overview

This scam is disguised as an IRS crypto portal. In the United States, cryptocurrency is considered a digital asset, and it is generally treated as a capital asset, such as stocks or bonds. Hence, cryptocurrency is taxed by IRS – the revenue service of the United States federal government.

The scheme in question is disguised as a platform for conveniently handling cryptocurrency taxes. It must be emphasized that the "IRS Crypto" scam is in no way associated with the Internal Revenue Service or any other legitimate entities.

We discovered this scam promoted on irscrypto[.]info, but it could also be hosted on different domains. When a digital wallet is linked to the scheme, it executes cryptocurrency-draining scripts.

Funds are transferred in automated transactions to cryptowallets in the cyber criminals' possession. Some drainers can approximate the value of digital assets and prioritize their theft. The transactions may appear vague and not raise immediate suspicion.

Additionally, cryptocurrency transactions cannot be reversed due to their practically untraceable nature. Therefore, victims of scams like "IRS Crypto" cannot recover their funds.

Threat Summary:
Name "IRS Crypto" crypto drainer scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud, Cryptocurrency Drainer
Disguise IRS (Internal Revenue Service) portal for paying cryptocurrency taxes.
Related Domains irscrypto[.]info
Detection Names (irscrypto[.]info) Emsisoft (Phishing), Kaspersky (Phishing), SOCRadar (Phishing), Sophos (Malware), Fortinet (Spam), Gridinsoft (Suspicious), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address (irscrypto[.]info)
Distribution methods Compromised websites, social media spam, rogue online pop-up ads, potentially unwanted applications.
Damage Monetary loss
Malware Removal (Windows)

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Cryptocurrency drainer scam examples

"Hedgies Giveaway", "Claim $ROCKY", "Artrade #RWA", and "Claim Your AVAIL Rewards" are merely some examples of cryptocurrency drainers.

Scams that target digital assets primarily do so in one of three ways: draining funds from compromised wallets, phishing for cryptowallet log-in credentials, and deceiving victims into manually transferring funds to scammer-owned wallets.

Users are baited into trusting these schemes by fake claims relating to taxes or gas fees, airdrops/giveaways, new coin/token promotions, wallet/account issues, suspicious activity detections, etc.

Due to how widespread online scams are and how well-made they can be – we highly recommend exercising caution when browsing and investing.

How did I open a scam website?

In general, online scams are endorsed via spam (e.g., social media/ forum posts, PMs/DMs, emails, SMSes, browser notifications, etc.), webpages utilizing rogue advertising networks, intrusive ads (malvertising), typosquatting (misspelled URLs) and adware.

In the case of crypto drainers, malvertising is prevalent. Specifically, intrusive pop-up advertisements – some of which are even capable of executing cryptocurrency-draining scripts rather than redirecting users to sites designed to do so. It is pertinent to mention that these pop-ups have been encountered on genuine websites that had been compromised.

Another common method for pushing this content is social media spam, especially on X (formerly Twitter). Promotional posts and PMs/DMs can be made using hacked accounts (i.e., ones originally belonging to real projects, companies, organizations, entrepreneurs, influencers, etc.). Hence, these posts and messages can appear incredibly legitimate.

How to avoid visiting scam websites?

Caution is key to online safety. We recommend paying attention to URLs and typing them carefully. It is important to be selective about which adverts to click and which websites to allow browser notification delivery. Suspicious pages must not be permitted to display notifications, and instead these requests have to be ignored or denied (i.e., by clicking "Block", "Block Notifications", etc.).

We advise against using sites that offer pirated programs/media or other dubious services (e.g., Torrenting, illegal streaming/downloading, etc.), as these webpages typically employ rogue advertising networks.

It is essential to be vigilant with incoming emails and other messages; attachments or links found in suspect/irrelevant mail must not be opened.

Another recommendation is to download only from official/verified channels and treat installations with care (e.g., study terms and options, use "Advanced/Custom" settings, and opt out of additional apps, extensions, etc.) – to prevent bundled/dangerous software from infiltrating devices.

If your computer is already infected, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate all threats.

Appearance of the fake "IRS Crypto" website (GIF):

Appearance of IRS Crypto scam (GIF)

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced IT skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
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How to identify a pop-up scam?

Pop-up windows with various fake messages are a common type of lures cybercriminals use. They collect sensitive personal data, trick Internet users into calling fake tech support numbers, subscribe to useless online services, invest in shady cryptocurrency schemes, etc.

While in the majority of cases these pop-ups don't infect users' devices with malware, they can cause direct monetary loss or could result in identity theft.

Cybercriminals strive to create their rogue pop-up windows to look trustworthy, however, scams typically have the following characteristics:

  • Spelling mistakes and non-professional images - Closely inspect the information displayed in a pop-up. Spelling mistakes and unprofessional images could be a sign of a scam.
  • Sense of urgency - Countdown timer with a couple of minutes on it, asking you to enter your personal information or subscribe to some online service.
  • Statements that you won something - If you haven't participated in a lottery, online competition, etc., and you see a pop-up window stating that you won.
  • Computer or mobile device scan - A pop-up window that scans your device and informs of detected issues - is undoubtedly a scam; webpages cannot perform such actions.
  • Exclusivity - Pop-up windows stating that only you are given secret access to a financial scheme that can quickly make you rich.

Example of a pop-up scam:

Example of a pop-up scam

How do pop-up scams work?

Cybercriminals and deceptive marketers usually use various advertising networks, search engine poisoning techniques, and shady websites to generate traffic to their pop-ups. Users land on their online lures after clicking on fake download buttons, using a torrent website, or simply clicking on an Internet search engine result.

Based on users' location and device information, they are presented with a scam pop-up. Lures presented in such pop-ups range from get-rich-quick schemes to fake virus scans.

How to remove fake pop-ups?

In most cases, pop-up scams do not infect users' devices with malware. If you encountered a scam pop-up, simply closing it should be enough. In some cases scam, pop-ups may be hard to close; in such cases - close your Internet browser and restart it.

In extremely rare cases, you might need to reset your Internet browser. For this, use our instructions explaining how to reset Internet browser settings.

How to prevent fake pop-ups?

To prevent seeing pop-up scams, you should visit only reputable websites. Torrent, Crack, free online movie streaming, YouTube video download, and other websites of similar reputation commonly redirect Internet users to pop-up scams.

To minimize the risk of encountering pop-up scams, you should keep your Internet browsers up-to-date and use reputable anti-malware application. For this purpose, we recommend Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.

What to do if you fell for a pop-up scam?

This depends on the type of scam that you fell for. Most commonly, pop-up scams try to trick users into sending money, giving away personal information, or giving access to one's device.

  • If you sent money to scammers: You should contact your financial institution and explain that you were scammed. If informed promptly, there's a chance to get your money back.
  • If you gave away your personal information: You should change your passwords and enable two-factor authentication in all online services that you use. Visit Federal Trade Commission to report identity theft and get personalized recovery steps.
  • If you let scammers connect to your device: You should scan your computer with reputable anti-malware (we recommend Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows) - cyber criminals could have planted trojans, keyloggers, and other malware, don't use your computer until removing possible threats.
  • Help other Internet users: report Internet scams to Federal Trade Commission.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is an online scam?

Basically, it is a type of deceptive content hosted on the Web. Online scams aim to deceive users into carrying out certain actions, e.g., connecting digital wallets to cryptocurrency drainers, disclosing sensitive information, making monetary transactions, purchasing products, downloading/installing software, subscribing to services, contacting scammers, etc.

What is the purpose of online scams?

The purpose of online scams is to generate revenue at victims' expense. Scammers primarily profit by obtaining funds through deception, promoting content, selling/abusing private information, and spreading malware.

I have lost digital assets to the "IRS Crypto" scam, can I get my money back?

Cryptocurrency transactions are irreversible due to their nearly untraceable nature. Hence, victims of scams like this fake "IRS Crypto" page cannot get their money back.

Why do I encounter online scams?

The most widespread promotional techniques include: websites using rogue advertising networks, malvertising (intrusive advertisements), spam (e.g., emails, DMs/PMs, browser notifications, social media posts, etc.), typosquatting (mistyped URLs), and adware.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from online scams?

Combo Cleaner can scan visited sites and detect rogue, deceptive/scam, and malicious webpages. Therefore, should you stumble upon such a page – you will be immediately warned, and further access to it will be blocked.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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