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Ross County Users Plagued by Phishing Scams

A new scam targeting Ross County inhabitants began in the end of November 2007 as a message purporting to be from the Taxpayer Advocate Service, Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) separate service, notifying people about their pending tax rebates.

The message informs the receiver that he is eligible for a tax refund of a particular sum. It asks the receiver to submit a request for a tax refund to claim it and give some time for processing.

Since a refund might get deferred due to various causes, including presenting defunct documents or submitting after the due date, it offers the receiver an alternative to open a link to get the rebate over the net. The link directs the receiver to a fake IRS website.

Ross County's local Debra Viney sent a photocopy of the online form exploited by the website to harvest private data to the Gazette. The website has a form requesting personal information such as Social Security number, debit card details, Card Verification Value (CVV) and personal identification number, as reported by Central Ohio on December 5, 2007. Viney also pointed out that the IRS had notified her that more than five persons had notified them regarding the scam - a figure that has probably increased later.

As stated by the IRS site, this selfsame scam had previously occurred in September 2007. The IRS alleged that in yet another scam in November 2007, its name was being exploited to demand money for providing aid to the sufferers of the Southern California wildfire.

Obviously, phishers present themselves not just as IRS officials but also as distributors, banks, mutual fund firms, government offices and also the Federal Bureau of Investigation. For instance, the counterfeit messages frequently arrive in an official type page, but this deception leads an unwary customer directly to a fake address.

The IRS mentions two things it never does that should warn people about a possible scam - it never transmits spam e-mails and it doesn't demand credit or debit card details.

The IRS never transmits any spam messages, informed Mark W. Everson, the IRS Commissioner, as reported by Central Ohio on December 5, 2007. As per Everson, users should follow precautionary measures when they get spam e-mails or messages from unknown persons, and confirm their origin.

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