Fake Email IRS Letters: Beware Identity Theft Scams!
There are many scams these days -- scams seeking to make you an identity theft victim. Beware of such identity theft scams, particularly the ones packaged in official wrapping, giving the impression that they come from someone "official."
For example, be particularly wary of emails you may get that purport to be from the Internal Revenue Service, aka the IRS.
Nowadays, in tax-time, such emails are rampant. So much so, in fact, that the IRS has issued a factsheet on these identity theft scams.
- Beware of IRS emails! These scams may take the form of email, tweets or other online messages. Sometimes, they could include phoney websites or even faxes.
- Emails discussing tax account information are never from the IRS! The IRS does not use email for the purpose of discussing your account. IRS letters in the mail, however, can be legitimate.
- Never give out your PIN, a password or other secret information! The IRS never asks you for this information.
- Beware of refund offers or paid survey participation. These are bait tactics used by scammers.
- Beware of intimidating subject lines. These emails employ scare tactics to urge you to respond.
- Do not reply to the emails or open any attachments! They could end up infecting your computer.
- Never click on the website listed in these fake IRS emails. These sites may direct you to places where you enter your financial information. They are not from the IRS.
- Never click on links from these sites! The links might download malware to your computer, which can take over your computer's hard drive and give the scammer remote access to your computer, or the malware could scan your computer for passwords and send them to the scammer.
- The REAL IRS site is a ".gov" site. The fake ones are often ".com" or ".net." Be carful, however. Sometimes, the site link might look like an "irs.gov" site but it is not. When you hold your mouse over the link, look in the bottom left-hand corner of your computer screen and see what link name pops up. Chances are it's probably not "irs.gov."
- Forward all suspicious emails to the IRS. Email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this day and age, computer use has become the primary means of communication. As such, many people become identity theft victims, simply because they aren't cautious enough on the Internet.
Avoid becoming an identity theft victim. Never, never pay attention to an email from the IRS which promises you a refund, a reward, directs you to a website or asks for personal information. Remember, the IRS usually prefers to contact you through mailed IRS letters.
You can never be too careful.