Warning: Fake Emails From the IRS Scam Unsuspecting People

February 5th, 2014

Schemers who concoct email scams have realized that they can devise plans to deceptively exploit the public perception of the Internal Revenue Service. Originators of the scam seek to gain leverage due to the willingness of email recipients to comply with what initially appears to be correspondence from the IRS.

The purpose of the fake email is to either obtain fraudulent payment or to obtain financial and personal information for later transaction fraud. Email headers can be spoofed and may appear to be from the IRS .gov domain. The body of the email summarizes a fictional account status. The fake email may demand immediate payment or introduce the prospect of a refund. The false communication may request additional personal information or even be accompanied by a threat of punishment for noncompliance. The scheme preys on the fear of the recipient that the request is legitimate. Even worse, the fake email may contain an attachment or links.

The summary in the body of the email may include a link or advise of details that are included in an attachment. Hidden files can be embedded in the link or the attachment, infecting the user’s computer with a malicious executable file. The fake email scam relies on the sense of vulnerability of the recipient, but there is a simple reminder about IRS operations that can protect any computer user from these deceptive attempts.

The IRS never initiates contact by email or text. The agency utilizes traditional mail service to make initial contact to any entity in regard to payment or reporting issues. There is a specific series of mailed letters followed by possible phone contact in situations of no response. Any unexpected email from the IRS should be disregarded. If opened, the recipient should refrain from clicking any links or attachments. The IRS is well aware of the scheme and provides an email inbox address on their website for anyone desiring to report the fraudulent activity. Again, if you get an email or text from the IRS, chances are it is a scam, so report it to the IRS right away.

Need tax advice? April 15th is right around the corner, so contact the Tucson Certified Public Accountants at Flowers Rieger today.

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