The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in IR-2009-071 reminded consumers to be aware of identity theft scams that spoof the IRS name, logo, or Web site. The scammers may use e-mail, fax, or telephone for their schemes. The goal is obtaining personal or financial information such name, address, birth date, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, social security numbers (SSNs), PINs, and passwords.
Some of the more common scams revolve around the following:
- Making Work Pay Refund
- Inherited Funds/Lottery Winnings/Cash Consignment
- Form W-8BEN
- Refund Scam
The IRS recommends knowing the following warning signs of a scam:
- Requests detailed or an unusual amount of personal and/or financial information, such as name, SSN, bank or credit card account numbers or security-related information, such as mother’s maiden name, either in the e-mail itself or on another site to which a link in the e-mail sends the recipient.
- Dangles bait to get the recipient to respond to the e-mail, such as mentioning a tax refund or offering to pay the recipient to participate in an IRS survey.
- Threatens a consequence for not responding to the e-mail, such as additional taxes or blocking access to the recipient’s funds.
- Gets the IRS or other federal agency names wrong.
- Uses incorrect grammar or odd phrasing (many of the e-mail scams originate overseas and are written by non-native English speakers).
- Uses a really long address in any link contained in the e-mail message or one that does not start with the actual IRS Web site address (http://www.irs.gov/). To see the actual link address, or url, move the mouse over the link included in the text of the e-mail.
If you are suspicious of any item you receive purporting to be from the IRS, remember that the IRS will never ask for personal or financial information in an e-mail and it does not send unsolicited e-mails. Never click on links or open attachments in such e-mails and contact the IRS at (800) 829-1040 if you receive one.