Don't fall for e-mail scam about 'underreported income'In recent weeks, a phony e-mail claiming to come from the Internal Revenue Service has circulated in large numbers.
In recent weeks, a phony e-mail claiming to come from the Internal Revenue Service has circulated in large numbers.
These messages have falsely alerted taxpayers to a fictitious “Notice of Underreported Income” from the IRS in an attempt to lure unsuspecting victims into dangerous waters infested by identity thieves.
“Taxpayers in the region have reported receiving multiple messages – even dozens – in a matter of days,” said Carrie Resch, IRS spokesperson. “These crooks are very aggressive in making their scam e-mail look urgent.”
“About 2.6 million Minnesotans file tax returns each year,” Resch said, “so these scammers have a large pool of potential victims who could have reason to think that a message about their tax account is real.”
But Minnesotans should not access the purported “tax statement” included with these deceptive messages, Resch said. It directs victims to a bogus Web page that downloads a particularly bad virus to their computer that can allow access to passwords and banking information.
Malicious code (or malware), of which this Trojan horse-type virus is but one example, can take over a victim’s computer hard drive. It gives someone remote access to a computer to look for passwords and other information. The scammer then uses information they gather to commit identity theft, gain access to bank accounts and more.
“The IRS does not send unsolicited e-mails to taxpayers about their tax accounts,” said Resch. “If you receive unsolicited e-mail claiming to come from the IRS, do not open any attachments or click on any links.”
People can report suspicious e-mails claiming to come from the IRS to a mailbox set up for this purpose, email@example.com. Those who believe they already may be victims of identity theft should go to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s website, OnGuardOnLine.gov.
IRS.gov provides more information on e-mail scams, including How to Report and Identify Phishing, E-mail Scams and Bogus IRS Web Sites and Suspicious e-Mails and Identity Theft. For more information, type “phishing” in the search window.
Tax tips from the IRS also are available on YouTube.com, including “Watch Out for Tax Scams.”