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July 13, 2008

Is IRS e-mailing you? Think again

The Internal Revenue Service warned taxpayers Thursday of a rash of identity theft scams in which thieves try to steal personal information by promising tax benefits or threatening penalties. The most common scams involve e-mails concerning tax refunds or this year's economic stimulus checks. The sender tells recipients that they must supply personal information to receive payments. The IRS normally does not send e-mails to taxpayers and does not request security-related personal information, such as PIN numbers. In another scam, people have received faxes saying the IRS is updating files and recipients who supply the requested information will receive nominal tax refunds while those who don't risk additional taxes. Companies also have received e-mails asking them to click on a link to download an IRS report on the company. When the link is clicked, "malware" is downloaded that can hijack the victim's computer hard drive to give the scammer remote access to the computer.

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