E-Mail Schemes Using the IRS Name
In a world where technology has brought so many advances, it is unfortunate that it has also brought many financial risks. All of us are aware that identity theft exists. This theft can occur when someone uses your personal information to empty your bank accounts, apply for new credit cards or loans, or charge up existing credit cards. There are many ways that criminals can obtain this information. Unfortunately, many criminals are impersonating the IRS in order to gain trust and trick unsuspecting taxpayers.
According to the IRS website, the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by e-mail to request personal or financial information. They will never send communications requesting PIN numbers, passwords, or bank account and credit card information via e-mail. Criminals are sending e-mails from false IRS e-mail addresses showing convincing IRS logos with many different scams. For example, fraudulent e-mails in the past have told victims that they are eligible to receive a tax refund, they can take a paid survey about their dealings with the IRS, they have been suspected of fraud and need to complete an “investigation form”, or that their recent payment to the IRS has been canceled. Victims are asked to click on a link to complete the necessary information, which usually includes valuable personal information and detailed bank account information as well.
The IRS website, IRS.gov, has specific instructions for those that receive these e-mails. If you ever receive an e-mail from someone claiming to be the IRS, do not reply to the e-mail. Be sure never to open any attachments or click on any links within the e-mail. Forward the e-mail, exactly as it was received, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Once forwarded to the IRS, delete the e-mail permanently from your computer. As always, if you have any question regarding the validity of an e-mail from the IRS, contact your accountant or tax advisor for guidance. For more information on identity theft and protecting yourself, visit the IRS website, where they added a new section devoted to tips, guidance and even YouTube videos about identity theft.
If you have any questions, or require any additional information, please contact:
Susan K. Marley, CPA