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Taxpayers Cautioned about New ‘Tax Refund’ Scam E-mail

Vito Fossella, a member of the US Congress from Staten Island/R-Bay Ridge in New York is warning people that scam artists are looking to attack taxpayers seeking their 2008 Economic Stimulus payment, or their pending tax refund, as reported by Brooklyn Daily Eagle on December 28, 2008.

Earlier in the 3rd week of December 2008, federal agents informed Fossella's office that reports had come to the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) from people getting formal looking e-mails posing to be from the IRS.

The scam e-mail is using the logo and name of the IRS and instructs recipient to view an attachment or click on a link to enter personal information if he/she wants to avail his/her Economic Stimulus payment or a pending tax refund. However, if a user follows the instructions and provides information, he/she could become victim of identity theft.

Furthermore, the e-mail also carries an introductory letter describing the issue while another form is included that the recipient to fill up and returns it to the e-mail's author via fax. The form requests for various personal information from the recipient, including bank account and Social Security numbers, date-of-birth, names of spouse and of mother before her marriage, and Xerox copy of the passport. Equipped with such information, a scammer could grab a person's identifying credentials or commit worse crimes, said security experts.

Meanwhile, the government officials have been investigating into the e-mail just like other e-mail they scrutinize regularly. Security officials also said that such e-mails used to emerge mainly around tax periods, but these days they are emerging at any time.

According to Fossella, scammers are always looking for new methods to dupe innocent people. Therefore, people must be vigilant of such con artists and remain cautious of not falling victim to their tricks.

The government officials said that the IRS never asks for personal information over e-mail. Thus, if anyone gets one from someone saying he is from the IRS or directs towards an IRS site, then he/she should not respond or open attachments since these attachments might carry malware that could infect the computer.

Related article: Taxpayers Warned About Fake IRS Websites

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