It’s tax time in the U.S. and with that generally comes an increase in the number of phishing scams directed at taxpayers. The IRS, whether we like them or not, has an excellent anti-scam/anti-phishing web site. One key thing to remember is that the IRS does not initiate taxpayer communications through e-mail. Here’s an excerpt from their site:
The IRS does not initiate taxpayer communications through e-mail.
* The IRS does not request detailed personal information through e-mail.
* The IRS does not send e-mail requesting your PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.
If you receive an e-mail from someone claiming to be the IRS or directing you to an IRS site,
* Do not reply.
* Do not open any attachments. Attachments may contain malicious code that will infect your computer.
* Do not click on any links…
Additional information is provided by the IRS in a recent press release:
IR-2009-41, April 13, 2009
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued its 2009 “dirty dozen” list of tax scams, including schemes involving phishing, hiding income offshore and false claims for refunds….
The IRS urges taxpayers to avoid these common schemes:
Phishing is a tactic used by Internet-based scam artists to trick unsuspecting victims into revealing personal or financial information. The criminals use the information to steal the victim’s identity, access bank accounts, run up credit card charges or apply for loans in the victim’s name.
Phishing scams often take the form of an e-mail that appears to come from a legitimate source, including the IRS. The IRS never initiates unsolicited e-mail contact with taxpayers about their tax issues. Taxpayers who receive unsolicited e-mails that claim to be from the IRS can forward the message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Further instructions are available at IRS.gov. To date, taxpayers have forwarded scam e-mails reflecting thousands of confirmed IRS phishing sites. If you believe you have been the target of an identity thief, information is available at IRS.gov.
I highly recommend you visit the IRS site and heed their excellent advice: How to Report and Identify Phishing, E-mail Scams and Bogus IRS Web Sites