Computer Crime Research Center


Phishing for taxes

Date: July 05, 2006

They're ba-ack. A series of scams that began during tax season are making another round, IRS officials warned Monday.

The latest one typically comes as an e-mail on what looks like official Internal Revenue Service letterhead advising the taxpayer of a "refund."

"After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $63.80," says one version of the e-mail. It provides a link to click on to "access the form" for the refund and asks for personal financial information like your PIN.

In other cases, taxpayers receive a direct phone call from someone claiming to be with the IRS.

"Don't be taken in," IRS spokesman Raphael Tulino said.

He said the IRS doesn't contact taxpayers by e-mail or phone to alert them to a possible refund.

"In fact, the IRS never sends out unsolicited e-mails, and under no circumstances requests information like PIN numbers," he said.

The Treasury's inspector general for tax administration has identified sites hosting more than two dozen IRS-related look-alike scams, called "phishing," from 20 different countries.
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