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Phishing hits Internal Revenue Service

Date: July 14, 2006
Source: elpasotimes.com
By: Darren Meritz

The Internal Revenue Service is warning computer users about bogus e-mails claiming to be from the federal tax agency and asking for personal financial information.

In a scheme known as "phishing," computer users receive e-mails from a source that uses the IRS logo.

The e-mail asks recipients to disclose personal and financial information, which could be used to steal the recipients' identity and financial assets.

"We don't know how widespread it is in El Paso and Texas, but they're going out nationwide," said Lea Crusberg, a spokeswoman for the IRS in Houston.

"We don't send out unsolicited e-mails asking for that information."

A statement from the IRS said the scam typically tells recipients they are due a federal tax refund.

It directs them to a Web site that requests detailed personal and financial information.

Crusberg added that the IRS is encouraging computer users who receive any suspicious e-mail to forward it to phishing@irs.gov so investigators can begin to determine the source or sources of the messages.

"We've seen an upswing in this activity lately," Crusberg said. "Anyone in receipt of this e-mail, don't click on it. Don't give up your financial information."
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