New e-mail scam preys on rebate-hungry taxpayers

A new IRS-related e-mail scam is attempting to steal your identity and your money and Federal agents are warning that the scam is fairly convincing.

Using the IRS name and logo, E-mail scammers are phishing for taxpayer's personal information, according to a spokesman for the nation's tax collector, The Carthage Press in Carthage, MO reported.

"We're getting reports of people receiving official looking e-mail that claims to come from the IRS," said IRS spokesperson Michael Devine.

Scammed e-mail recipients are instructed that if they want to receive their 2008 Economic Stimulus payment or an outstanding tax refund, they should click on a link or open an attachment.

KTVU Television in San Jose, CA reports that Internal Revenue Service officials say the spam scam began earlier this year and picked up momentum amidst talk of a second round of stimulus checks for taxpayers. "These are really dangerous e-mails or cyber scams that schemers are sending out, promising that people can get their stimulus payments," IRS spokesman Jesse Weller told the television station.

Devine shared the following points with The Carthage Press:

  • The IRS never sends unsolicited e-mails about your taxes.
  • The IRS never sends e-mail asking for personal and financial information, such as social security, bank account, credit card, or pin numbers.
  • Filing a 2007 federal tax return is all you needed to do to get a stimulus payment if you're eligible.

If you think you received a scam e-mail message purporting to be from the IRS, you should forward the original scam e-mail to phishing@irs.gov.

Nationally, the IRS has been looking for more than 279,000 taxpayers who are missing economic stimulus checks totaling about $163 million.

IRS officials say that many of these scams originate outside the country, reports KTVU. Rather than responding to suspect e-mail messages, taxpayers who are expecting a payment from the IRS are encouraged to go to the IRS Web site and click "Where's My Stimulus Payment?"

Taxpayers without access to the Internet can call the IRS Economic Stimulus Payment Hotline at (866) 234-2942. It is an automated tool available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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