The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has created a new electronic mailbox, at firstname.lastname@example.org, where taxpayers should send information regarding suspicious e-mails claiming to be from the IRS. Due to the volume of e-mail the new mailbox is expected to receive, no acknowledgement or reply will be sent to taxpayers who submit their bogus e-mails.
The new mailbox allows taxpayers to send copies of possibly fraudulent e-mails involving misuse of the IRS name and logo to the IRS for investigation. The mailbox is for suspicious e-mails only, not for general taxpayer contact or inquiries. Instructions on how to properly submit one of these communications so that they retain critical elements of the original email, can be found on the IRS web site at www.irs.gov. The IRS can use the information, URLs and links in bogus e-mails, to trace the hosting web sites and alert authorities to help shut down these fraudulent sites.
“The IRS does not send out unsolicited e-mails asking for personal information,” IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson reminds taxpayers in a prepared statement. “Don’t be taken in by these criminals.”
The IRS has seen a recent increase in these scams, many of which originate outside the U.S.. Investigations by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration have identified sites hosting more than two dozen IRS-related phishing scams, to date. The scam web sites have been located in 20 different countries, including Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, China, England, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Singapore and Slovakia, as well as the United States.
The IRS does not send out unsolicited e-mails asking for personal information. Further, the IRS never asks taxpayers for the PIN numbers, passwords or similar secret access information from their credit card, bank or other financial accounts.
When the IRS learns of new schemes involving use of the IRS name or logo, it issues consumer alerts warning taxpayers about the schemes. The fraudulent misuse of the IRS name, logo, forms or other IRS property, other than phishing, can be reported by calling the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s toll-free hotline at 800-366-4484.