The Internal Revenue Service is alerting taxpayers to the new versions of an old e-mail scam -- which attempts to fool people into believing that they are under investigation by the agency’s Criminal Investigation Division.An e-mail purporting to be from IRS Criminal Investigation falsely states that the person is under a criminal probe for submitting a false tax return to the California Franchise Board. The e-mail seeks to entice people to click on a link, or open an attachment, to learn more information about the complaint against them. Both the e-mail link and attachment contain a harmful program that can take over the computer hard drive and allow someone to have remote access to the computer.

Similar e-mail variations suggest that a customer has filed a complaint against a company and the IRS can act as an arbitrator. These latest versions appear to be aimed at business taxpayers, as well as individual taxpayers.

The IRS does not send out unsolicited e-mails or ask for detailed personal and financial information.

Recipients of questionable e-mails claiming to come from the IRS should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in the e-mails. Suspicious e-mails should be forwarded to, where they will be reviewed by agency officials.

Since the establishment of the mail box last year, the IRS has received more than 17,700 e-mails from taxpayers reporting more than 240 separate phishing incidents.

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