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IRS Cautions Taxpayers About Counterfeit E-Mails

An e-mail saying that the recipient is entitled to a 'refund' is a bit unexpected, however if received would be more than welcome. At the same time taxpayers would want to protect themselves from identity theft.

There were numerous counterfeit IRS e-mails sent out in 2006, according to Nancy Mathis, a spokesperson for IRS in Washington, D.C. Nbc6 published this on April 15, 2007.

IRS has posted a sample from these e-mails on its Web site. It asks recipients to click on a given link to proceed further. Those who do it find a site looking like IRS. There, instructions ask recipients to submit their personal and financial details to verify identities.

The IRS has asserted that it never sends out e-mails asking for personal or financial information like bank account or credit card numbers or passwords. Earlier too the agency had warned people about phishing scams that involve e-mails and websites imitating legitimate organizations to grab passwords and similar sensitive data. The IRS pointed out that the counterfeit sites seem authentic because these have most images and content copied from the real IRS web pages.

The IRS never contacts taxpayers via e-mail, Mathis said. The agency also does not ask for financial information. Actually, they don't need to do so for they already have the Social Security numbers of the taxpayers and also know their financial history.

Just as a person approaching a tax consultant would check out his legitimacy so should be his approach to a tax website, Mathis continued. She cautions people not to give out their personal information to anybody without confirming. Nbc6 published this on April 15, 2007.

Similarly, IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson said people should be careful when they get unsolicited e-mails or e-mails from unknown senders. It is always necessary to verify the e-mail source. 10nbc published Everson's suggestion in the first week of April 2007.

Gary Morse, president of a security consulting company in New York said thieves are cunning and they take advantage of the situation when taxpayers get too occupied with filing returns than think about their data security. Msnbc published this on April 12, 2007.

Related article: IRS Cautions Taxpayers of Recent Email Scam

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