Official-looking e-mails claiming to be from IRS are fraudulent

February 15, 2009 By Elisabeth Nardi

Schemers claiming to be Uncle Sam are filling e-mail boxes in Contra Costa County, Calif., and across the country with messages asking for people's personal information.

Fraudulent e-mails claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service, complete with an official-looking IRS masthead, ask the recipients to complete a W-4100B2 form and fax it to an international phone number. The form asks for personal information including name, birth date, address, Social Security number and bank account. The letter even asks for a copy of a person's driver's license or passport.

The e-mail states, "Our records indicate that you are a non-resident alien. As a result, you are exempted from United States of America tax reporting and withholdings."

The letter goes on to say that American citizens should fill out the form, as well, verifying citizenship.

Jesse Weller, a spokesman for the IRS, said this e-mail "phishing" is a scam, and that the IRS is aware of it. Such scams, unfortunately, go on all the time.

"These are really dangerous cyber-scams that are purportedly coming from the IRS and may look and sound like the IRS, but it's not," said Weller.

There is one way to always tell the difference between a scam and the real thing, "The IRS never sends e-mails out about personal tax accounts," he said.

In addition, the IRS never asks for detailed personal and financial information - credit card numbers, bank or other financial account numbers, PIN numbers, passwords or similar secret access information _ in an e-mail, he said. Recipients of questionable e-mails claiming to come from the IRS should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in those e-mails. Instead, they should forward the e-mails to phishing@irs.gov. The IRS has received almost 33,000 such e-mails forwarded to it, which has led to more than 1,000 different scams, according to Weller.

These scams are becoming more and more prevalent, especially around tax time, Weller said.

"Whenever the IRS is in the news, especially during tax season, these scams seem to flourish," he said.

___

(c) 2009, Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.).
Visit the Contra Costa Times on the Web at www.contracostatimes.com
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Explore further: Leading stem cell scientist cleared of misconduct charges

Related Stories

Ashley Madison CEO steps down in wake of hacking

August 28, 2015

The CEO of the company that runs adultery website Ashley Madison is stepping down in the wake of the massive breach of the company's computer systems and outing of millions of its members.

Ashley Madison hack strikes fear in outed users

August 26, 2015

Two years ago, trapped in what he remembers as "a dead marriage," Michael logged on to adulterous dating site Ashley Madison for the first time. He was less than impressed.

Federal workers with sensitive jobs used cheating website

August 21, 2015

U.S. government employees with sensitive jobs in national security or law enforcement were among hundreds of federal workers found to be using government networks to access and pay membership fees to the cheating website ...

Recommended for you

Magnetic fields provide a new way to communicate wirelessly

September 1, 2015

Electrical engineers at the University of California, San Diego demonstrated a new wireless communication technique that works by sending magnetic signals through the human body. The new technology could offer a lower power ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.