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: Study: Social media users shy away from opinions

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

Study: Social media users shy away from opinions

Aug 26, 2014

People on Facebook and Twitter say they are less likely to share their opinions on hot-button issues, even when they are offline, according to a surprising new survey by the Pew Research Center.

US warns shops to watch for customer data hacking

Aug 23, 2014

The US Department of Homeland Security on Friday warned businesses to watch for hackers targeting customer data with malicious computer code like that used against retail giant Target.

Fitbit to Schumer: We don't sell personal data

Aug 22, 2014

The maker of a popular line of wearable fitness-tracking devices says it has never sold personal data to advertisers, contrary to concerns raised by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

Should you be worried about paid editors on Wikipedia?

Aug 22, 2014

Whether you trust it or ignore it, Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world and accessed by millions of people every day. So would you trust it any more (or even less) if you knew people ...

Philippines makes arrests in online extortion ring

Aug 22, 2014

Philippine police have arrested eight suspected members of an online syndicate accused of blackmailing more than 1,000 Hong Kong and Singapore residents after luring them into exposing themselves in front of webcam, an official ...

User comments : 0