IRS Phishing Emails - Tax Refunds
The Internal Revenue Service and the Internet Crime Complaint Center have issued consumer alerts about an Internet scam in which consumers receive an e-mail informing them of a tax refund. One e-mail, which claims to be from the IRS, tells the recipient that they are eligible to receive a tax refund for a given amount. It then directs the consumer to a link that requests personal information, such as Social Security number and credit card information.
Another e-mail titled "Refund Notice" claims to provide information to recipients regarding the status of their IRS Tax Refunds. The e-mail contains a link, which mirrors the true IRS web site. This site purportedly allows recipients to check the status of their IRS tax refund after providing the following information:
First and last name
- Social Security Number or IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
- Credit card information
The IRS has seen numerous attempts over the years to defraud the public and the federal government through a variety of schemes, including abusive tax avoidance transactions, identity theft, claims for slavery reparations, frivolous arguments and more. More information on these schemes may be found on the criminal enforcement page at www.IRS.gov.
The IRS does not ask for personal identifying or financial information via unsolicited e-mail.
LOSS PREVENTION RECOMMENDATIONS:
If you receive an unsolicited e-mail alleging to be from the IRS, take the following steps:
Do not open any attachments to the e-mail, in case they contain malicious code that will infect your computer.
- Contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to determine whether the IRS is trying to contact you about a tax refund.
- Taxpayers do not have to complete a special form to obtain a refund.
- If you have received this, or a similar hoax, please file a complaint at www.ic3.gov.
- Educate yourselfon “Phishing”.
Use the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) web site, www.onguardonline.gov.
Take interactive quizzes designed to enlighten about identity theft, phishing, spam and online-shopping scams.
Elsewhere on the site, you can find detailed guidance on how to monitor their credit histories, use effective passwords and recover from identity theft.
- A good resource for this topic is Anti-Phishing Working Group at antiphishing.org
- If you have been victimized by a spoofed e-mail or web site, you should contact your local law enforcement, US Postal Inspector, or FBI.