An electrical fire in the basement of the Internal Revenue Service's Washington headquarters led to an evacuation and shutdown of the building yesterday.
There were no reported injuries at the office, which is located at 1111 Constitution Ave., and houses approximately 3,000 IRS employees. The Washington Fire Department responded to alarms around 9:30 a.m., and the decision to close the building for the remainder of the day was made due to smoke and a lack of electrical power.
In a separate announcement earlier this week, the IRS said that it has established an electronic mailbox for taxpayers to send information about suspicious e-mails they receive claiming to come from the agency.
Taxpayers should forward the entire possibly fraudulent e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org . The new mailbox will allow the agency to sift through and investigate suspect communications involving misuse of the IRS name and logo. The agency can use the information, URLs and links in the bogus e-mails to trace the hosting Web sites and alert authorities to help shut down sites.
"The IRS does not send out unsolicited e-mails asking for personal information," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson, in a statement. "Don't be taken in by these criminals."
Tricking consumers into disclosing their personal and financial information, such as secret access data or credit card or bank account numbers, is identity theft. Such schemes perpetrated through the Internet are called "phishing" for information. To date, investigations by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration have identified sites hosting more than two dozen IRS-related phishing scams.
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