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IRS Alerts Public to New Identity Theft Scams

Aug 10, 2009 | Posted in Fraud Alerts

The Internal Revenue Service reminds consumers to avoid identity theft scams that use the IRS name, logo, or Web site in an attempt to convince taxpayers that the scam is a genuine communication from the IRS. Scammers may use other federal agency names, such as the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

The IRS urges consumers to avoid falling for the following recent schemes:

Making Work Pay Refund – This phishing e-mail, which claims to come from the IRS, references the president and the Making Work Pay provision of the 2009 economic recovery law. It says that there is a refundable credit available that can be paid into the recipient’s bank account if the recipient registers their account information with the IRS.

Inherited Funds / Lottery Winnings / Cash Consignment – In this phishing scheme, recipients receive an e-mail claiming to come from the U.S. Department of the Treasury notifying them that they will receive millions of dollars in recovered funds or lottery winnings or cash consignment if they provide certain personal information, including phone numbers, via return e-mail.

Form W-8BEN – In this scam, fraudsters modify a genuine IRS form, the W-8BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding, to request detailed personal and financial information. They either e-mail or fax the form or letter. The letter, which claims to come from the IRS, states that the recipient will face additional taxes unless he or she quickly faxes the required information to the number provided by the scammer.

Refund Scam – The bogus e-mail, which claims to come from the IRS, tells the recipient that he or she is eligible to receive a tax refund for a given amount. It instructs the recipient to click on a link contained in the e-mail to access the form and enter personal and financial information.

The IRS does not initiate taxpayer contact via unsolicited e-mail or ask for personal identification or financial information via e-mail. If you receive a suspicious e-mail claiming to come from the IRS, take the following steps:

Do not open any attachments or click on any links in the e-mail, in case they contain malicious code that will infect your computer.

Contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to determine whether the IRS is trying to contact you.
Forward the suspicious e-mail orURL address to the IRS mailbox phishing@irs.gov, then delete the e-mail from your inbox.

The only genuine IRS Web site is IRS.gov. All IRS.gov Web page addresses begin with http://www.irs.gov/.