June 21, 2011 12:24
The IRS does not send taxpayers unsolicited e-mails about their tax accounts, tax situations or personal tax issues. If you receive such an e-mail, most likely it's a scam. These schemes may take place via phone, fax, Internet sites, social networking sites and particularly e-mail. Many impersonations are identity theft scams that try to trick victims into revealing personal and financial information that can be used to access their financial accounts. Some e-mail scams contain attachments or links like PDFs or reports that, when clicked, download malicous code (a virus) that infects your computer or direct you to a bogus form or site posing as a genuine IRS form or Web site.
Some impersonations may be commercial Internet sites that consumers unknowingly visit, thinking they're accessing the genuine IRS Web site, IRS.gov. However, such sites have no connection to the IRS.
Taxpayers who receive a suspicious e-mail claiming to come from the IRS should take the following steps:
- Avoid opening any attachments to the e-mail, in case they contain malicious code that will infect your computer.
- Avoid clicking on any links, for the same reason. Alternatively, the links may connect to a phony IRS Web site that appears authentic and then prompts for personal identifiers, bank or credit card account numbers or PINs.
- Visit the IRS Web site, www.irs.gov, to use the “Where’s My Refund?” interactive tool to determine if they are really getting a refund, rather than responding to the e-mail message.
- Forward the suspicious e-mail or url address to the IRS mailbox firstname.lastname@example.org, then delete the e-mail from their inbox.
The IRS website has lots of news on current scams and ways to protect yourself. Visit it for the latest information.