MOUNTAINSIDE—The Internal Revenue Service wants you to know there may be a scam waiting in your e-mail inbox that looks very official but is dangerous to you and your computer.
“We’re getting reports of people getting an e-mail that appears to come from the IRS and tells recipients to respond to get their 2008 Economic Stimulus Refund,” said IRS spokesperson Gregg Semanick.
Semanick says there are three things the IRS needs people to remember:
- The IRS never sends unsolicited e-mails about your taxes.
- If you get a scam e-mail, don’t access any links or attachments.
- If you have filed a 2007 federal tax return with the IRS, you don’t need to do anything else to get a stimulus payment. The IRS will take care of the rest.
According to Semanick, if you have accessed a link or attachment in a scam e-mail, you may have allowed the scammer to download malicious software to your computer and you should immediately scan for viruses and spyware, plus be alert for suspicious activity on your financial accounts.
“If you have actually responded to a scam e-mail by giving out your private information,” Semanick said, “you should immediately take steps to prevent identity theft. You may now be a prime target.”
“Taxpayers can help the IRS stop scammers by sending the original scam e-mail to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org. The e-mail must be forwarded using special instructions at IRS.gov or it loses the encoding needed to track it to its source,” Semanick said.
For more information about tax scams, visit www.irs.gov and check out the Dirty Dozen, a list of tax scams updated each year by the IRS. The IRS also provides information on its Web site to help taxpayers protect their personal and financial information. Just type Identity Theft in the key word search feature for additional information.
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