New Scam Uses Email to Target Taxpayers

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The California Society of Enrolled Agents is joining the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service in warning the public of a new scam that attempts to trick taxpayers into revealing personal information such as Social Security numbers, bank and credit card numbers and passwords, and driver license information.

Typically, the scheme advises potential victims that they are under investigation for tax fraud and liable for prosecution. The e-mail directs the recipients to an official-looking website that instructs the unwary to enter detailed personal financial information to dispute the charges.

With this information, criminals can empty bank and credit card accounts electronically, and even apply for new loans and credit cards in the victims' names. One such phony site was shut down in April, but experts believe that more will spring up in the months ahead.

The IRS does not use e-mail to contact taxpayers, and all IRS letters must include a contact name and phone number.

If you believe you've received fraudulent or suspicious requests or demands regarding your financial account or taxes, contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration's toll-free fraud referral hotline at 800-366-4484, or call an Enrolled Agent to assist you.

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