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IRS Email Scams – Another Form of Identity Theft

Scammers are innovative thieves looking for new ways to scam your money, be it over the internet, on the phone, or by mail. To the endless lists of internet frauds and scams circulating cyberspace, comes the yearly surge of the IRS email scam.

These bogus emails claiming to be from “tax-refunds@irs.gov” is another type of identity theft. Scammers behind the IRS emails persuade you to disclose personal and financial information, such as your credit card number and social security number, so you can check your tax forms or receive a phony tax refund.

This practice, also known as “phishing” for information, is an attempt to steal your financial assets and identity. After receiving your information, scammers will then run up charges on your credit cards or may even apply for a loan or other services and benefits with your credit.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reports an increase in IRS email scams near the April 15th deadline for tax forms. The Internal Revenue Service and the FBI caution consumers to discard any email purportedly from the IRS. Since, the IRS never contacts consumers through email.

Types of IRS E-mail Scams

Two common types of IRS email scams may unwelcomingly appear in your inbox. These emails will attempt to entice you by either:

  • Claiming that you’re eligible for a tax refund for a certain amount of money; or
  • Offering to provide you with information regarding the status of your IRS Tax Refunds. This email contains a link to a website identical to the real IRS website, and asks you for personal information, like your social insurance number and credit information.

What Should I Do With Emails From the IRS?

If you receive or have received spam purportedly from the IRS remember to take the following steps:

  • Avoid opening any of the attachments or links in the email
  • File a complaint with the IC3 at www.ic3.gov/
  • Contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 in order to determine if you really are applicable for a tax refund

Keep in mind that the IRS will not ask for your personal or financial information via spam. Richard Morgante, the IRS commissioner of wage and investment, claims that the IRS avoids contacting taxpayers through email. He further goes to say that if an IRS agent does contact you it will be through mail or by phone. But that too is unlikely.

Protect Yourself from IRS Scams

Don’t wait to fall victim to IRS scams that can lead to identity theft or credit card fraud. Take the extra step now. Learn how to safeguard your personal information ; your credit cards and documents; and remember to monitor your bank accounts and credit history.

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Use alternative web browsers and email software.