IRS warns of new phishing scam

The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers of a new phishing scam where an e-mail purporting to come from the IRS advises taxpayers they can receive $80 by filling out an online customer satisfaction survey. The IRS urges taxpayers to ignore this solicitation and not provide any requested information. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers through e-mail, it said on its Web site.The IRS has been frequently used by phishers looking to grab personal information.  The fact that they continue to use the IRS and official-looking emails indicates they are having success. There have been at least two other scams on the IRS in recent months.  The first was an email proclaiming "Tax Avoidance Investigation" which said it came from the IRS' "Fraud Department." There the recipient is asked to complete an "investigation form," for which there is a link contained in the e-mail, because of possible fraud that the recipient committed.  It is believed that clicking on the link may activate a Trojan Horse.Then earlier this year an e-mail purporting to be from IRS Criminal Investigation falsely states that the person is under a criminal probe for submitting a false tax return to the California Franchise Tax Board. The e-mail seeks to entice people to click on a link or open an attachment to learn more information about the complaint against them. The IRS warned people that the e-mail link and attachment is a Trojan Horse that can take over the person’s computer hard drive and let someone have remote access to the computer.The bottom line is that the IRS does not send out unsolicited e-mails or ask for detailed personal and financial information. Since the establishment of a complaint email box last year, the IRS has received more than 17,700 e-mails from taxpayers reporting more than 240 separate phishing incidents. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently warned US homeowners that it has heard complaints from victims of online foreclosure rescue schemes in almost all 50 states. Not surprisingly, states with the highest foreclosure rates—such as Georgia, Colorado and Ohio—have an exceptionally high number of complaints for companies offering foreclosure rescue.  In July the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center warned of fraudulent e-mails that appear to come from the FBI and U.S. military.  The spam is actually pushing lotteries or are phony inheritance notifications

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.
Related:

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.