IRS warns taxpayers of fake e-mail scam

A fake e-mail scam using the name and logo of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service is circulating in the Central Missouri area.

Michael Devine, an IRS spokesman, said use of the fake logo and IRS name makes the e-mail especially dangerous to taxpayers.

Devine said people operating the scam are targeting both businesses and individuals. It falsely claims a federal tax payment has been rejected and directs the recipient to complete an attached form. “That attachment contains a virus that may infect your computer so they can steal personal and financial information,” Devine said.

Devine said the IRS never sends unsolicited e-mail asking for financial or detailed personal information.

Devine has three tips for anyone who receives an e-mail from someone claiming to be from the IRS, directing the recipient to a website for a refund, or to answer questions about taxes.

• Don’t reply to the message.

• Don’t open any attachments because they may contain a computer virus.

• Don’t click on any computer links.

Devine said the first contact in the current scam is from a letter or notice that arrives in the mail. That fake correspondence will explain a phony situation and provide contact information.

To verify that the IRS is attempting to contact you, Devine said people should call the IRS toll-free number, 800-829-1040.

Devine said recipients of scams can help shut them down by forwarding suspicious e-mails that claim to come from the IRS to a special mailbox, phising@irs.gov. Recipients can forward the suspected phony e-mail as received or provide the Internet header of the e-mail. The Internet header has additional information to help locate the sender.

Misuse of the IRS name, logo forms or other IRS property also can be reported toll-free at 800-366-4484 to the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

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