IRS "Phishing" Scams Increase at Tax Time

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Phishing scams often take the form of an e-mail that appears to come from a legitimate source. If a Phishing scam is successful, criminals can then easily empty your bank accounts, run up credit card charges and apply for loans or credit in your name. Even small tidbits of data found within profiles on social networking sites, can be enough for a trained identity thief to piece together your information and then easily crack your passwords.

This time of year many scam e-mails are designed to appear as though they come from the IRS. Tax time is a particularly good time for criminal s to go on information phishing expeditions. They will bait the unsuspecting taxpayer by claiming the IRS needs additional information or verification of the taxpayer's identity. Often the e-mail will have an IRS logo making it appear legitimate. It usually contains a bogus link or phone number requesting the taxpayer contact them immediately...don't use either.

To date, taxpayers have forwarded more than 33,000 of these scam e-mails, (reflecting more than 1,500 different schemes), to the IRS.

The IRS never uses e-mail to contact taxpayers about their tax issues. Taxpayers who receive unsolicited e-mail that claims to be from the IRS can forward the message to a special electronic mailbox,, using instructions contained in an article titled "How to Protect Yourself from Suspicious E-Mails or Phishing Schemes."


* The IRS does not initiate taxpayer communications through e-mail. In addition, the IRS does not request detailed personal information through e-mail or ask taxpayers for the PIN numbers, passwords or similar secret access information for their credit card, bank or other financial accounts.

* Do not open any attachments or click on links contained in suspicious e-mails, which may contain malicious spyware that will infect your computer.

*The only official IRS Web site is located at

You may also report misuse of the IRS name, logo, forms or other IRS property to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration toll-free at 1-800-366-4484.

For more details on phishing scams see earlier blog:

Beware of Telephone & Email Phishing Scams

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