Do Not Be Deceived By Cyber Criminals’ Tax Scams!
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) fields thousands of complaints annually from taxpayers concerned about suspicious faxes, e-mails, phone calls, and printed notices. Parties initiating such correspondence invariably purport to be IRS representatives. Many such scams even employ forged IRS insignia to entice a response. Known as “phishing,” the common objective of these scams is tricking unsuspecting taxpayers into disclosing sensitive financial and personal data. This info is then used to steal your money or identity.
Following are five facts to know about all forms of phishing:
– Legitimate IRS communications never solicit in-depth personal or financial data like passwords, PIN codes, or other such sensitive information.
– The IRS never initiates taxpayer contact via e-mail in order to obtain financial or personal information. Any email that purports to come from the IRS or attempts to direct you to an alleged IRS website should be handled as follows:
– Never respond to such message(s);
– Never open any attached file(s), as they typically conceal malware codes that could infect your entire system.
– Do not click any internal links. If you have already clicked on any such suspicious email link(s) or revealed sensitive information, promptly visit the official IRS webpage and conduct an internal site search for “identity theft” to glean further assistance.
The official IRS website is “www.IRS.gov.” Do not be misled or deceived by IRS impersonators whose URLs end with “.com,” “.net,” “.org”, or any domain or designation other than “.gov.” If you encounter a suspicious site that purports IRS affiliation, do not supply any sensitive or confidential personal or financial data. Report its URL and all other relevant information to the IRS immediately.
If you get a fax, letter, or phone call from any party claiming to be with the IRS that seems suspicious in any way, call the IRS hotline at 1-800-829-1040 immediately to learn if any legitimate need for IRS contact with you currently exists. Report any false communications immediately. Forward phishing emails promptly to [email protected]
You can do your patriotic duty and serve a valuable public service by preventing victimization of your fellow citizens. Full details and further information about reporting procedures for specific tax scams may be found at www.IRS.gov. Click on the “phishing” hyperlink featured within the website’s homepage. Complete the brief form with all requested information. Such “small” individual steps are imperative to effective stamping out of tax scams.