Beware of Bogus IRS Emails
Email scams abound today – as users are bombarded with everything from the infamous Nigerian scam to false reports of lottery winnings, to counterfeit pre-paid credit card offerings to phony web pages. Even the Internal Revenue Service is not immune!
Every year the IRS receives reports from thousands of taxpayers who have been sent fake email correspondence from the IRS. The hoax email includes the official IRS name and logo, which makes it appear authentic – which is one way for them to encourage a response. This scam, called phishing, is an attempt to trick the recipient into revealing personal and financial information which is then used to commit identity theft or to gain access to your money.
In order to be sure that you do not become a victim, the IRS offers these words of advice:
- The IRS does not initiate contact with any taxpayer by email or social media to request personal or confidential financial information.
- The IRS never asks for detailed personal and financial information, such as PIN numbers or passwords for your credit card, bank or other financial accounts.
- The official address for the IRS is www.irs.gov. A bogus email might come from an address that is similar enough to confuse you, such as www.irs.com; www.irs.net; www.irs.org or some other URL. Be sure to look at the address carefully.
- If you receive a phone call, letter or fax from someone claiming to be with the IRS, you can call the IRS at 800-829-1040 and confirm that they are trying to contact you.
- Report any scams that you are aware of to firstname.lastname@example.org.
No matter how careful you are, or how effective your spam filter may be, you can still be a victim of these types of crimes. If you do receive an email that claims to be from the IRS, remember these five steps:
- Do not reply to the message
- Do not send any confidential information
- Do not open any attachments (they may contain a malicious code or virus that will infect your computer)
- Do not click on any links
- Go to the IRS website and click on “Report Phishing” to help
Criminals using email to perpetrate scams count on victims who are confused by IRS name and logo and the similar email address. Communication with the IRS can also be somewhat intimidating, so many are quick to comply – another fact that scammers depend on!
If you have any questions, you can always call us at Sobel & Co. for guidance and support at 973-994-9494 or visit our website at www.sobel-cpa.com.
Information supplied by IRS Tax Tip 2013-19
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