The Internal Revenue Service warned about a new e-mail scam that purports to come from the IRS asking for charitable contributions for the victims of the recent Southern California wildfires.

The e-mails include text from a speech about the wildfires by a member of the California Assembly to help them look more legitimate. They also include a link to a site that appears to be operated by the IRS, but actually is bogus. The site solicits charitable contributions for wildfire victims and contains a link to a donation form asking for personal and financial information.

The IRS believes the e-mail is part of a phishing scheme that attempts to put fraudulent charges on a victim's credit card. The site may also contain malicious software that could try to steal passwords and other confidential information from a victim's computer.

Recipients of the e-mails who click on any links should have their computers checked for malicious software, the IRS warned. They should also monitor their financial accounts for signs of suspicious activity. If any is detected, the IRS recommends that they report it to law enforcement authorities and credit card companies. Recipients of the e-mails should also forward them to phishing@irs.gov.

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