For many procrastinators, today is the day that they finally file their federal income tax returns. People who are expected a refund will often file sooner than people who owe money, but it still takes the IRS weeks before your refund is processed. Recently there have been reports of a phony email being circulated that purports to be from the IRS informing you that there has been a problem with your tax return and that you need to provide banking information in order to have your refund deposited electronically into your bank account. The email looks official and it carries an exact copy of the IRS logo, but it is a phony. If you look closely at the email address from which it was sent you will notice it reads “firstname.lastname@example.org.” The name IRS does not even appear in the email address. If you fall for this scam and make the mistake of providing your bank account information, you will find that money will not be deposited into your account. Rather, your bank account will be emptied by the identity thief who posed as the IRS.
It is easy to identify a phony email from the IRS. If you get an email and it purports to be from the IRS, it is a phony. The IRS does not initiate communications with taxpayers by email. In fact, you should never provide sensitive information to anyone or any entity that contacts you by email unless you are absolutely positive that it is legitimate by confirming the request for information by phone at a phone number you know is accurate or by going to the person or entity’s website and confirm electronically that it is a legitimate request.
For many more tips on how to protect yourself from identity theft, I urge you to pick up a copy of my book “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age” which you can do by clicking on the picture of the book on the right hand column of Scamicide.