Beware of Phoney IRS Websites

Don't be scammed by fake IRS websites or emails.

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There are thousands of online criminals who want to get your personal and financial information in order to steal your money and/or identity. This problem is so common there is even a special word for it: "phishing" (as in “fishing for information” and “hooking” victims).

Internet tricksters seem to be coming up with new schemes all the time. One of the latest is a new tax scam that uses a website that mimics the IRS e-Services online registration page. The phony web page looks almost identical to the real one and has fooled so many victims the the IRS has issued a special warning to the public. The actual IRS e-Services page offers web-based products for tax preparers, not the general public.

Always remember this: The IRS never initiates contact with taxpayers by email requesting personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. If anyone claiming to be from the IRS asks you to provide such information online, he or she is a scam artist.

The address of the official IRS website is www.irs.gov. Don’t be misled by sites claiming to be the IRS but ending in .com, .net, .org or other designations instead of .gov. If you find a suspicious website that claims to be the IRS, send the site’s URL by email to phishing@irs.gov. Use the subject line, 'Suspicious website.'

If you get an unsolicited email that appears to be from the IRS, report it by sending it to phishing@irs.gov.

The IRS has a lot of information at www.irs.gov that can help you protect yourself from tax scams of all kinds, including a video on how to protect yourself from identity theft. Search the site using the term “phishing.”

January 2013

by: , J.D.

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