Tax season bringing out the fraud artists

Mar 08, 2010 By JORDAN ROBERTSON , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- How do you know that the sender of an e-mail that has landed in your inbox is trying to steal your money or your identity? The message comes right out and asks for it.

Tax season means computer criminals are going to be out in force, pumping out bogus e-mails that purport to be from the Internal Revenue Service. These messages ask you to supply personal information in all kinds of scams. Often the scam e-mails offer help speeding up the preparation of tax returns or securing a big refund.

The e-mails also might just be a cover for criminals to install on your computers, by tricking you into opening attachments or visiting poisoned Web sites.

Scam e-mails can be stunningly convincing, so you often can't tell just by looking at them whether they're real or fake. They can use authentic-looking IRS logos and even e-mail addresses: can make it appear as if they're writing from a legitimate government e-mail address, so you can't trust the "from" line in e-mails you receive.

So what should you do to protect yourself?

Don't supply your personal information, such as or , to anyone e-mailing you for it. The e-mails might state that they just need a few pieces of personal information to get started. The IRS doesn't discuss tax matters with people by e-mail.

Also, don't open attachments or follow links in unsolicited e-mails. When it comes to , if someone's offering you something online that you didn't ask for, chances are you probably don't want it.

Explore further: Dutch student sells his data for €350, but at what price privacy?

More information: IRS page on computer scams: http://bit.ly/XlJo

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Jackson's death unleashes barrage of online scams

Jun 30, 2009

(AP) -- Minutes after any big celebrity dies, Internet swindlers get to work. They pump out specially created spam e-mails and throw up malicious Web sites to infect victims' computers, hoping to capitalize on the sudden ...

A 'reunion' that left her embarrassed

Feb 04, 2009

Q. In December, I was contacted by 16 former colleagues and friends who had received "invitations" from me through Reunion.com, a Web site I had never visited. It was quite embarrassing, because the colleagues were at a ...

Recommended for you

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

3 hours ago

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Researchers uncover likely creator of Bitcoin

9 hours ago

The primary author of the celebrated Bitcoin paper, and therefore probable creator of Bitcoin, is most likely Nick Szabo, a blogger and former George Washington University law professor, according to students ...

White House updating online privacy policy

13 hours ago

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Researchers uncover likely creator of Bitcoin

The primary author of the celebrated Bitcoin paper, and therefore probable creator of Bitcoin, is most likely Nick Szabo, a blogger and former George Washington University law professor, according to students ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...