Taxpayers Beware! The IRS Does Not Send Emails

Taxpayers beware! Do not open or respond to any emails purporting to be from the IRS. It is important to know, the IRS never uses e-mail to contact taxpayers about their tax issues. Therefore any e-mail you receive that claims to be from the IRS should be viewed with immediate suspicion and not opened or replied to because the IRS will not email taxpayers.

Phishing, as it is called, is the act of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. These criminals use the information obtained to empty the victims' bank accounts, run up credit card charges and apply for loans or credit in the victims' name. Phishers can be cunning and will use public information about you online to better deceive you, claiming to be from a business or organization that you deal with -- for example, an Internet service provider, bank, online payment service, or even a government agency.

Posing as the IRS has been a particularly favored tactic over the last several years. Below are some examples of what fraudulent IRS emails may look like.

Sender Subject
Your Stimulus Check Your US Govt Bailout Check Instructions
Your Stimulus Check Your Check Instructions for Govt Bailout
Your Bailout Check Your US Govt Stimulus Check Instruction
Internal Revenue Service Collect Your Refund
IRS Important Notice From IRS
Internal Revenue Service Notice from Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service Access your tax refund online
Internal Revenue Service Taxpayer Advocate Service (Tax Refund)
Internal Revenue Service Get Your Annual Tax Refund Now
Internal Revenue Service Notice from IRS
Internal Revenue Service IRS Notification - Tax Refund

Taxpayers who receive an unsolicited e-mail that claims to be from the IRS can forward the message to a special electronic mailbox, phishing@irs.gov. The IRS can use the information, URLs, and links in the suspicious e-mails you forward to trace the hosting Web site and alert authorities to help shut down the fraudulent sites.

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