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IRS Issues Alerts of Fresh Phishing E-mails

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has cautioned taxpayers about new e-mail scams.

An IRS Spokeswoman Dianne Besunder states that the agency is continuously receiving complaints from people that they're getting e-mails, which seem to be sent from the IRS and directs them to reply in order to claim certain tax re-imbursement, a payment from economic stimulus, or even a fake notice of an alleged tax-audit, as reported by Acorn-online on December 7, 2009.

But, according to Ms. Besunder, the IRS doesn't ever send unsolicited e-mails. In this connection, security researchers stated that the agency would e-mail to a taxpayer only when that person first e-mailed to it. In case, the IRS thought of sending e-mail alerts to a taxpayer notifying him that his returns had been filed or re-imbursement had been credited to his account, then he would be told ahead of his returns filing.

Therefore, if anyone gets an e-mail appearing to be from the IRS and directing the recipient to an IRS website, then he shouldn't reply. It would be safe to avoid clicking on given attachments as they could carry viruses capable of infecting computers. Similarly, any links in such e-mails should also be avoided.

However, if anyone has already replied to such an e-mail, then he should act immediately to stop possible ID theft, Ms. Besunder suggests.

The IRS too suggests certain tips on its site that can help taxpayers to safeguard their sensitive private information. Accordingly, users should forward the e-mail or send the e-mail's header. The header contains extra information by which the IRS can locate the e-mail's source. Tax payers have forwarded over 33,000 of such fraudulent e-mails to the IRS during 2009 involving around 1,500 separate campaigns.

After forwarding the e-mails, users must delete them, the security researchers advise.

Moreover, users themselves can do much and foil phishing attacks by keeping in mind that majority of these attacks take place from beyond the US boundaries and the related e-mails contain grammatical errors and misspellings. Besides, users should deploy firewall and anti-malware software and maintain their applications and operating systems up-to-date.

Related article: IRS Cautions Taxpayers of Recent Email Scam

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