Provided by J.C. Harrison, Simplified Business & Tax Service
The Internal Revenue Service receives thousands of reports each from taxpayers who receive suspicious emails, phone calls, faxes, notices claiming to be from the IRS. They fraudulently use IRS name or logo as a lure to make the communications as more authentic and enticing. The goal of these scamsknown as phishingis to trick you into revealing your personal and financial information. The scammers can then use your informationlike Social Security number, bank account or credit card numbersto commit identity theft or steal your money.
Here are five things the IRS wants you to know about phishing scams.
1. The IRS never asks for detailed personal financial information like PIN numbers, passwords or similar secret information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts.
2. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email request personal or financial information. If you receive an inquiry from someone claiming to be the IRS or directing you to another site:
a. Do not reply to the message.
b. Do not open any attachments. Attachments may contain malicious code that will infect your computer.
c. Do not click on any links. If you clicked on links in a suspicious e-mail or phishing website and entered confidential information, visit the IRS website and enter the search term 'identity theft' for more information and resources to help.
3. The address of the official IRS website is www.irs.gov. Do not be confused or misled by sites claiming to be the IRS but ending in .com, .net, .org or other designations instead of .gov. If you discover a website that claims to be the IRS but you suspect it is bogus, do not provide any personal information on the suspicious site and report it to the IRS.
4. If you receive a phone call, fax or letter in the mail from an individual claiming to be from the IRS but suspect they are not an IRS employee, contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to determine if the IRS has a legitimate need to contact you. Report any bogus correspondence. You can forward a suspicious email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. You can help shut down these schemes and prevent others from being victimized. Details on how to report specific types of scams and what to do if you've been victimized are available at www.irs.gov. Click on “phishing” on the home page.