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  • The IRS Warns of Scam E-Mails

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    The IRS Warns of Scam E-Mails

    The IRS does not send unsolicited e-mail to taxpayers either about their tax accounts or requesting sensitive personal and financial information.

    Nevertheless, taxpayers do receive e-mails claiming to come from the IRS, sometimes containing a real or made-up employee name, address and similar information to make an e-mail seem credible.

    These e-mails usually are scams whose purpose is to obtain personal and financial information — such as name, Social Security number, bank account and credit card or even PIN numbers — from taxpayers which can be used by the scammers to commit identity theft. Identity thieves use the data to empty the victim’s financial accounts, run up charges on the victim’s existing credit cards, apply for new loans, credit cards, services or benefits in the victim’s name, file fraudulent tax returns and more.

    Typically, IRS-impersonation scam e-mails state that the IRS needs certain personal and financial information to process a tax return, tax payment or refund. They may claim the e-mail recipient is being audited. They may mention specific monetary amounts or genuine programs, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), to add credible detail to the scam. The e-mails often contain links or attachments to what appears to be the IRS web site or an IRS form. However genuine in appearance, these phonies are designed to elicit the information the scammers are looking for.

    Alternatively, a link in a scam e-mail may download malicious software onto the taxpayer's computer when clicked. The software is often designed to search out and send back to the scammer personal and financial information contained on the taxpayer's computer or obtained through keystrokes that the scammer can use to commit identity theft.

    Unsolicited e-mails claiming to be from the IRS or an IRS-related component, such as EFTPS, should be reported to

    Issiffou Ouedraogo | 10/26/2011

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