Avoiding IRS Scams

Urgent Consumer Warning from the Internal Revenue Service

Remember: The IRS does not ever initiate contact using e-mail. If you get an unsolicited e-mail that appears to come from the IRS, it is definitely a fake and may be dangerous.

Read below to avoid possible damage to your computer or the threat of identity theft.

Warnings and instructions for recipients of these fake e-mails:

1. DO NOT open any attachments or click on links in the messages. Doing so may download a Trojan Horse that can damage your computer or allow remote access to your hard drive.

2. If you do click on a link in the e-mail and it takes you to a Web site requesting your personal financial information, do not supply it. Any information you supply will likely be used to steal your identity.

3. If you click on a link or open an attachment, make sure your virus protection is up-to-date and run a scan immediately. If you have spyware protection, run a scan for that, too.

4. What should you do with a scam e-mail if you get one? Send the IRS an e-mail at phishing@irs.gov.

5. If you think you may have a tax refund due that you have not yet received, contact the IRS toll-free at 1-800-829-1040.

6. If you believe you have been the victim of a tax scam, contact the U. S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration toll-free at 1-800-366-4484.

The good news is that you can help shut down these schemes and prevent others from being victimized.
If you receive a suspicious e-mail that claims to come from the IRS, you can relay that e-mail to a new IRS mailbox, phishing@irs.gov. Follow these instructions for sending the bogus e-mail to ensure that it retains critical elements found in the original e-mail.

The IRS can use the information, URLs and links in the suspicious e-mails you send to trace the hosting Web site and alert authorities to help shut down the fraudulent sites. Unfortunately, due to the expected volume, the IRS will not be able to acknowledge receipt or respond to you.

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