As tax season approaches, the numbers of IRS and tax-related spam and phishing outbreaks are rising. As seen below, the latest outbreak is a very official looking email, complete with an @irs.gov email address and IRS logo across the top. They even remembered to add a copyright at the bottom.
Anyone would be excited to receive an email promising a tax refund of any kind. Who doesn’t want free money from the government!? In this case, unknowing recipients follow the link in the email and find themselves on a page set up by cyber criminals to look identical to the actual IRS Web site. Recipients are prompted to fill out a form providing various bits of personal identifying information like social security number, address and even ATM card number and its PIN. Once submitted, the sneaky cyber criminals have direct access to the victims’ financial accounts.
The IRS is aware of these schemes and has set up this informational page for people who feel they have been targeted. The first point they highlight on the page? That the IRS will not use email to initiate communications with tax payers.
According to the site:
The IRS does not request detailed personal information through e-mail.
The IRS does not send e-mail requesting your PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.
If you receive any “phishy” emails like the one pictured above, report it immediately to the IRS by forwarding it to firstname.lastname@example.org.