Residents warned about tax scams
By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on September 12, 2006 1:48 PM
Following a recent increase in scam e-mails, the Internal Revenue Service reminded taxpayers to be on the lookout for bogus e-mails claiming to be from the tax agency.
The IRS saw an increase in complaints in recent weeks about these e-mails, which are designed to trick the recipients into disclosing personal and financial information that could be used to steal the recipients' identity and financial assets.
"The IRS does not send out unsolicited e-mails asking for personal information," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. "Don't be taken in by these criminals."
The IRS has seen a recent increase in these scams. Since November, 99 different scams have been identified, with 20 of those coming in June - the most since 40 were identified in March during the height of the filing season.
Many of these schemes originate outside the United States. To date, investigations by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration have identified sites hosting more than two dozen IRS-related phishing scams. These scam Web sites have been located in many different countries, including Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, China, England, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Singapore and Slovakia, as well as the United States.
The current scams claim to come from the IRS, tell recipients that they are due a federal tax refund, and direct them to a Web site that appears to be a genuine IRS site. The bogus sites contain forms or interactive Web pages similar to IRS forms or Web pages but which have been modified to request detailed personal and financial information from the e-mail recipients. In addition, e-mail addresses ending with ".edu" -- involving users in the education community -- currently seem to be heavily targeted.
The IRS does not send out unsolicited e-mails or ask for detailed personal information via e-mail. Additionally, the IRS never asks people for the PIN numbers, passwords or similar secret access information for their credit card, bank or other financial accounts. Tricking consumers into disclosing their personal and financial information, such as secret access data or credit card or bank account numbers, is fraudulent activity which can result in identity theft. Such schemes perpetrated through the Internet are called "phishing" for information. The information fraudulently obtained is then used to steal the taxpayer's identity and financial assets. Typically, identity thieves use someone's personal data to empty the victim's financial accounts, run up charges on the victim's existing credit cards, apply for new loans, credit cards or benefits.
Other Local News
- Care in the sky: Members of the aeromedical evacuation crew fight to get injured troops back to their families