Treasury, IRS Warn of Identity Theft Scheme Involving Bogus E-mail, Web site

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service warn taxpayers of an e-mail-based scheme that attempts to trick taxpayers into revealing personal information such as social security numbers, driver’s license information and bank and credit card numbers.

In this ploy, unsuspecting consumers receive an e-mail, claiming they are under investigation for tax fraud and are subject to prosecution. The e-mail informs recipients they can “help” the investigation by providing “real” information and directs them to an official-looking Web site where detailed personal information must be provided to dispute the charge.

Identity thieves can use an individual’s personal data to take over their financial accounts, run up charges on their credit cards, apply for loans, credit cards or other services in the victim’s name and file fraudulent tax returns.

At the request of the IRS and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the Internet service provider that was hosting the Web site has shut the site down. The scheme is being investigated by TIGTA, which addresses threats to federal tax administration.

The bogus IRS web page and the e-mail in this instance contained several grammatical errors, rendering them immediately suspect. However, new versions of the scam could surface in the future, including more effectively-written text and a different destination Web site.

The IRS does not use e-mail to contact taxpayers about issues related to their accounts. Official taxpayer contact usually includes a letter on IRS stationery in an IRS envelope. IRS letters also contain a contact phone number.

Taxpayers who believe they have received suspect communication are encouraged to call TIGTA’s toll-free fraud referral hotline at 1-800-366-4484. Taxpayers can also contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. An IRS representative will be able to verify the taxpayer’s account status and determine whether a communication is legitimate.

You may like these other stories...

IRS chief: New rule on the way for tax-exempt groupsIRS Commissioner John Koskinen told the USA Today on Monday that the agency will likely rewrite a proposed rule regulating the political activities of nonprofit groups to...
With tomorrow being Tax Day, you might see some procrastinators at your office filling out forms, printing out paperwork, or getting last-minute tax advice from their accountant so they can meet the IRS’s filing...
The IRS has launched 295 new identity theft and refund fraud investigations during this tax-filing season, bringing the number of active cases to nearly 1,900, the agency announced last week.The coast-to-coast enforcement...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Apr 17
In this exciting presentation Excel expert David H. Ringstrom, CPA shares tricks that you can use with pivot tables every day. Remember, either you work Excel, or it works you!
Apr 22
Is everyone at your organization meeting your client service expectations? Let client service expert, Kristen Rampe, CPA help you establish a reputation of top-tier service in every facet of your firm during this one hour webinar.
Apr 24
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA introduces you to a powerful but underutilized macro feature in Excel.
Apr 25
This material focuses on the principles of accounting for non-profit organizations' revenues. It will include discussions of revenue recognition for cash and non-cash contributions as well as other revenues commonly received by non-profit organizations.