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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Stay Alert for Internal Revenue Service Phishing Scams

Scammers are like cockroaches; they are unwanted, yet they never seem to go away. Recently, there has been a set of IRS phishing emails that have been infesting the web. There have been at least two versions. One claims to be from "info manager@irs.gov" and another from "support manager@irs.gov." These emails can look convincing with headers that read: "IRS notification." Although it may seem authoritative, neither of these are legitimate and should be ignored, deleted, or forwarded along to phishing@irs.gov. Do Not reply and Do Not open the attachments.

Here is the plain text version of one of the emails:

Important Information about your tax return
We are unable to process your tax return
We received your tax return. However, we are unable to process the return as field.
Our records indicate that the person identified as the primary taxpayer or spouse on the tax return did not provided all the required documents shown on the tax form. Our records are based on information received from the Social Security Administration.
Based on this information, the tax account for the individual has been locked

What you need to do
Print out the attached notification and list of missing documents, fill it in, add the documents and send the following information to the address shown in the attached notification.
List of required documents:
    • A copy of this letter
    • Notification letter
    • A photocopy of valid U.S. Federal or State Government issued identification.
Keep this notice for your records.

As you can see, this email is littered with typos and grammatical errors. That is always a Huge Red Flag if you are receiving an email that is supposedly from a professional organization. In addition to that, it is commonly known that the IRS does not send unsolicited e-mails to taxpayers. Therefore, most emails claiming to be from the IRS are most likely a scam.  

Be very careful with these emails. Most of them try to get you to reveal your personal or financial information. Do not reveal any of this information via e-mail. Better yet, Do Not reply to the email at all.  Don’t follow any links from these e-mails to any web sites where you might be asked for the same information.

Other e-mails may have attachments or links which download viruses or other malware onto your computer. Some of this malware, has the capabilities to retrieve financial and other personal information from your computer. Even if you don't manually input personal information into these sites, the malware allows the scammers to track your personally identifiable information.

Key Point to Remember: the IRS will never initiate contact with you via email. They will not ask you to click links to fix your tax information or verify your tax account. Neither will you be advised of a mistake in your refund via email. If you are concerned that you need to contact the IRS, then you should call them (1.800.829.1040). Don't click on an attachment or reply to an email claiming to be from the IRS.

So to recap: delete, delete, delete. Do Not open links. Do Not open any attachments. Do Not investigate on your own. The IRS can handle any investigation if necessary. If you would like to make the IRS aware of it, you can forward the e-mail to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov then DELETE the email.


This Information has been provided by the Truck Tax Team at www.ExpressTruckTax.com

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