July 20, 2010
Taxpayers Beware: Bogus IRS Emails
In a recent string of fictitious e-mails, users have been prompted to provide personal information to imposter organizations, falling right into the lap of scammers who will use the information in identity theft. Phishing is the computer security term for the process of attempting to acquire sensitive information over the internet – and internet scammers attempting are using more and more familiar websites to unsuspecting victims in.
The Tax Professionals at MarcumRachlin would like to remind you that the Internal Revenue Service will not initiate communication via email – nor will they request any detailed personal information in this manner.
The IRS has issued several consumer warnings on the fraudulent use of the IRS name and logo. Typically sent in bulk, these fraudulent messages will alert the recipient that they need to update personal information for a potential refund or to avoid a penalty. E-mails claim to come from the IRS or the Treasury Department with an apparent legitimate e-mail address and often provide actual IRS telephone numbers to make it seem authentic. Enclosed links and attachments might provide the user with genuine-looking tax forms or imposter IRS websites in an attempt to steal important personal information.
As fraudulent communication becomes more sophisticated and harder to detect, the IRS provides the following signs that an e-mail may be fraudulent:
- The e-mail requests personal and/or financial information including PIN numbers, social security numbers, account numbers or bank card numbers
- The e-mail dangles bait such as a potential refund (For an example, click here)
- The e-mail threatens a consequence for not responding (For an example, click here)
- The e-mail gets the Internal Revenue Service name wrong
- The e-mail uses a really long address in any link – roll over the link included in the text of the e-mail to see where they are sending you (For an example, click here)
- The e-mail uses incorrect grammar or odd-phrasing- often indicating that these false communications are being originated overseas
Scams such as this are not limited to e-mail. Fax and telephone numbers are also prime targets for scammers who want to steal your information.
Please be cognizant of the communication you receive. Do not reply to any potentially bogus emails, and do not open any attachments. Attachments often contain malware or spyware that can not only steal your personal information, but damage your computer as well. The IRS urges taxpayers to forward bogus e-mails or any other communications to firstname.lastname@example.org and delete the message.
The Tax Professionals at MarcumRachlin are privy to protecting you from the latest fraudulent tax scams and are here to assist you in preventing identity theft. Please contact a representative at any time if you suspect that you are receiving false communication from the IRS or any other authority.