The IRS has issued a warning to taxpayers who receive emails claiming to be from the agency.
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“Scammers use the IRS name or logo to make the message appear authentic so you will respond to it,” the warning reads, adding that the tactic is actually “phishing” -- attempting to trick recipients into revealing personal and financial information, which can lead to ID theft.
The agency advises recipients of e-mails claiming to be from the IRS that they should not:
- Reply to the message;
- Open attachments; or,
- Click on any links in a suspicious e-mail or phishing Web site or enter confidential information.
The IRS, which has long warned about phony sites, also points out that it does not initiate contact with taxpayers by e-mail or social media channels to request personal or financial information or ask for detailed personal and financial information such as PINs, passwords or similar access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts.
“Do not be misled by sites claiming to be the IRS but ending in .com, .net, .org or anything other than .gov,” the warning adds. “If you discover a Web site that claims to be the IRS but you suspect it is bogus, do not provide any personal information on their site and report it to the IRS. If you receive a phone call, fax or letter in the mail from an individual claiming to be from the IRS but you suspect they are not an IRS employee, contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.”
The service has also set up sites to help taxpayers and preparers report phishing and protect identity information, and has posted multi-language YouTube videos on phishing malware and self-protection against ID theft. Podcasts in English and Spanish also cover the topic.