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Fake E-mail Talks of Tax Refund

While the federal tax refunds reached most taxpayers long time back, some people are receiving e-mails informing their entitlement to more money. IRS is warning such people not to pick the bait, for the e-mails belong to a phishing scam rather than IRS sending them.

The e-mail, purporting to be from the IRS (Internal Revenue Service), United States Department of Treasury and using the official logo of the agency, says that on the basis of the last yearly assessment of the recipient's fiscal status, the agency has determined that the recipient is entitled for a tax refund of $109.30.

But the IRS would never ever send such e-mail to anyone, said David Stewart, a spokesman for the agency in its Philadelphia office. PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW reported this on August 17, 2007.

The e-mail is just one of the ways by which scammers simply attempt to grab personal financial information and eventually, people's money.

Online criminals use phishing e-mails and associate them with legitimate business names to pull out personal information. According to the FTC's definition, phishing is a sophisticated scam that tricks consumers into divulging their bank account information, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, passwords and similar sensitive information.

Some phishing e-mails of the latest type tell the recipient to click a link to get the form to fill up for the tax refund. But on clicking it, a virus infects the recipient's computer rather than showing up the refund form.

Other e-mails ask the recipient to provide his/her bank account number where the IRS can directly deposit the refund.

Stewart said the scammers spread their net widely, and they don't need many people to succumb to the scam. The problem is consistent and not likely to fade out soon, he said.

The common targets are small banks and brokerage firms. spammers are targeting companies like eBay, AOL and U.S. Bank. They are also changing their techniques by using greeting card attachments, viruses, keyloggers and spyware.

Users are urged not to click any links or attachments in dubious e-mails claiming to be from the IRS. Instead, they should forward the message to phishing@irs.gov.

Related article: Fake Spam Mail Announces Australian PM’s Heart Attack

» SPAMfighter News - 8/30/2007

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