Phishing is a scam which attempts to trick you into revealing your personal and financial information which can then be used to commit identity theft or steal your money.
The IRS receives thousands of reports each year from taxpayers who receive e-mails claiming to be from the IRS. Scammers use the IRS name or logo to make the message appear authentic so that you will reply to it with your personal details. They want you to know about these scams and have outlined five key points that you should be aware of:
1. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email or social media channels to request personal or financial information;
2. The IRS never asks for detailed personal and financial information like PIN numbers, passwords or similar secret access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts;
3. The address of the official IRS website is www.irs.gov. Do not be misled by sites claiming to be the IRS but ending in .com, .net, .org or anything other than .gov. If you discover a website that claims to be the IRS but you suspect it is fake, do not provide any personal information on their site and report the site to the IRS;
4. If you receive a phone call, fax or letter in the mail from an individual claiming to be from the IRS but you suspect they are not an IRS employee, contact the IRS at +1-800-829-1040 to determine if the IRS has a legitimate need to contact you. Report any suspicious correspondence by forwarding an email to firstname.lastname@example.org;
5. You can help the IRS and other law enforcement agencies shut down these schemes. Visit the IRS.gov website to get details on how to report scams and helpful resources if you are the victim of a scam. Click on “Reporting Phishing” at the bottom of the page.
If you received one of these emails;
· Do not reply to the message;
· Do not open any attachments. Attachments may contain malicious code that will infect your computer; and
· Do not click on any links in a suspicious email or phishing website and do not enter confidential information. Visit the IRS website detailed above and click on ‘Identity Theft’ at the bottom of the page for more information.