The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a consumer alert last week warning taxpayers of a “phishing” scam that attempts to trick e-mail recipients into disclosing personal and financial data.
The scam uses e-mail messages, purportedly from the IRS, informing consumer of tax refunds and directing them to follow a link to a web site that requests personal information, such as Social Security Numbers and credit card information. The information collected is then used to steal the individual’s identity and financial assets.
The bogus e-mail message claims to come from “tax firstname.lastname@example.org”, however, the IRS does not ask for personal identifying or financial information via unsolicited e-mail. In addition, taxpayers do not have to complete a special form in order to obtain a refund.
The IRS recommends that anyone receiving an unsolicited e-mail purporting to be from the IRS take the following steps:
- Do Not Open Any Attachments in case they contain malicious code that will infect your computer.
- Contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to determine whether the IRS is trying to contact you about a tax refund.
According to the IRS there have been a variety of schemes intending to defraud the public and/or the federal government over the years. These schemes include: abusive tax avoidance transactions, identity theft, claims for slavery reparations, frivolous arguments, and others. Additional information on these and other schemes and scams is available online at IRS.gov.