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IRS Cautions of Online And Offline Phishing Scams

According to a news release published recently, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reportedly disclosed that in May-June 2008 alone, it received reports of 700 unique instances of phishing, taking the total phishing cases to 1,600 reported to the agency so far this year (2008).

Moreover, according to the agency, the most widespread Internet scams currently relate to e-mails concerning the economic stimulus scheme or tax refunds for 2008. In these e-mails, the sender misleads the recipient into revealing his personal information to receive the refund, thereby making him phishing bait. The phishing campaign has been circulating far and wide over the past two months.

Also, in addition to the particular Internet scam hitting people, IRS revealed another phishing campaign in which people have been getting fax messages, which claim to have come from IRS. A sample message said that as IRS is updating its database, recipients who provide the requested information would receive tax refunds but those who do not comply would be charged extra taxes, with a possible closure of their refund account.

According to Doug Shulman, Commissioner of IRS, people paying taxes should be careful not to let personal information reach identity thieves. Thus, they should not allow themselves to fall for a phony fax or e-mail message of the type currently circulating and purporting to be from IRS, as reported by Daily Press on July 10, 2008

Furthermore, reports regularly coming from IRS indicated that even organizations have been receiving e-mails directing them to follow a link to view an IRS report on the organization. However, on clicking the link, malware is installed that could compromise the organization's hard drive to enable the scammer to gain access to that organization's PC.

Meanwhile, after describing all these kinds of scams, IRS recommends users to remove any uninvited e-mail coming from an individual or organization using the IRS name. According to IRS, "DO NOT" press enter on links or ads in the messages, as they might start downloading malware onto the computer. Further, any suspicious e-mail using IRS name should be forwarded to phishing@irs.gov, the agency said.

Related article: IRS Cautions Taxpayers of Recent Email Scam

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