"The IRS never sends out unsolicited emails, and under no circumstances, requests credit card information and pin numbers through email. Persons receiving emails that claim to be from the IRS should not attempt to visit any site contained within the email and should report suspicious emails to TIGTA (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration) or the IRS."
©2006 The Media Desk
Ahhhh, yes... they're in the air again. Or at least in your email box again. This time it's a fresh edition of an old scam that was first reported in 2002.
Will it ever end? More and Better scams and phishing attempts masquerading as tax letters, tax preparation classes, tax dodges, tax refund schemes, tax reparations for slavery, tax audits.... it is all quite... taxing.
Well, NO. There are still lots of gullible people out there willing to give up their banking information simply for the asking, or to pay somebody for something that is supposed to be free, or to forward a poem or story in hopes of being blessed with a winning lottery ticket.
NONE of these emails are real offers for anything except your chance to join the ever increasing numbers of the victims of fraud, identity theft or a scam of one sort or another.
The current object of discussion comes with the actual IRS logo and title:
It is usually written in very official sounding language and includes legal descriptions and warnings of penalties for non-compliance.
Face it. The IRS simply Does NOT do things like this and as stated above, they will NOT email you and ask for banking information.
Now. Why are the crooks doing this NOW instead of during Tax Season (March and April in the US)?
Well, that's a bit of strategy that lets us know just how intelligent and clever these people are. In late March, everybody in the US, including law enforcement agencies and most citizens are all into Taxes. People are doing their returns, filing forms, collecting statements and cussing the politicians for giving themselves a raise from the very skin off of the backs of taxpayers. So taxes are on everybody's mind. Come late June and into the Fall, nobody is thinking about taxes, so the crooks are apt to catch somebody off guard and make off with everything from what's in their target's checking account, max out their credit card or even steal their identity and buy a motorcycle like you see in the ads on TV.
AND NOW A SEMI-OFFICIAL PIECE OF ADVICE FROM THE IRS:
If you have any questions about anything regarding your taxes, an email or piece of physical mail you receive that appears to be from the IRS. CALL THE IRS and ask them about it!
The IRS National Toll Free Number: 1-800-829-1040
Or call your local IRS number as listed in the telephone book or visit this page for the locations: www.irs.gov/localcontacts/index.html
A Tax Phishing information page from The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration http://www.treas.gov/tigta/docs/phishing_alert_2006.pdf WARNING- it is an Adobe® PDF.
The quote at the top of the page from the IRS is found here: www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=154861,00.html
Another Tax Fraud and Scam page from www.irs.gov
HM Revenue and Customs in the UK. www.hmrc.gov.uk
Some good information is also available from the US Department of Justice's multi-agency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force: www.stopfraud.gov
www.truthorfiction.com looks at the IRS email.
A couple of pages from the famous www.snopes.com
And an older version www.snopes.com/inboxer/scams/irsaudit.htm
[NOTE: The Desk is NOT affiliated with any of the above and listing of a site here, including the IRS and HMRC is not to be considered an endorsement of the Desk by them or, (most certainly) vise versa. Outside links will open in new window, links were operational at time of posting. thank you ]
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