Phishing / Identity Theft Scams Appearing to Come From a
The Internal Revenue Service USA Scam
If you received an email like the one below, that looks very authentic, like it came from the IRS, or you received a phone call about the same subject, beware. It is an attempt to get you to enter confidential information (typically a social security number, name, address, bank account information, etc., to allow the scammers to steal your identity and open credit cards in your name.
This email was not sent by the IRS, it came from firstname.lastname@example.org. No government agency, including the IRS uses hotmail addresses. This is referred to as spoofing (making a fake email that looks legitimate, "phishing" (when by email) or "vishing" (when by telephone). If you receive an email similar to the one below, DO NOT respond to it, nor click on any links, and do not enter any information on the forms there.
Remember, no real government agency would send you an email or a phone call requesting your personal account information. You would only receive a formal letter by the postal service. Any such email you receive asking for this information should be considered phony and brought to the attention of the business being 'phished'.
Anytime you need to go to a website for your government actions, like tax filing, tax refunds or other personal, financial or confidential information; do not follow a link in an email; just type their address in your browser directly (such as www.IRS.gov )
Below are actual phishing emails that started circulating in 2013. We removed the links to the phisher's email address, which is email@example.com
----- Forwarded message -----
--- On Fri, 5/3/13, IRS Commissioner <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
From: IRS Commissioner <email@example.com>
Subject: Internal Revenue Service USA
Date: Friday, May 3, 2013, 9:56 PM
Internal Revenue Service
Washington D.C USA.
Be informed that we have resolved every requirement concerning the release of your worth $10.5 Million US Dollars which came from Africa. The USA government has mandated the FBI to sign the fund release bond. So you are free of any more requirements from the FBI. Get back to us so that we can advice you on how to receive the fund.
Note that the government requires you to receive this fund so that we can get the Tax from the fund after the transfer into your account. So to avoid charging you for tax evasion it is most important that you pick up this fund immediately.
Respond immediately to receive your funds. Do also confirm the following to this office for proper communication.
Your Full Name:
Your Full Address:
Your Telephone Number:
Your Weekly Income OR monthly Income
Awaiting for your urgent reply.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is an attempt by an individual or group to solicit personal
information from unsuspecting users by employing social engineering techniques.
Phishing emails are crafted to appear as if they have been sent from a
legitimate organization or known individual. These emails often attempt to
entice users to click on a link that will take the user to a fraudulent website
that appears legitimate. The user then may be asked to provide personal
information such as account usernames and passwords that can further expose them
to future compromises. Additionally, these fraudulent websites may contain
Learn More About Phishing
The following documents and websites can help you learn more about phishing and how to protect yourself against phishing attacks.
- Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks
- Protecting Your Privacy
- Understanding Web Site Certificates
- Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG)
- Federal Trade Commission, Identity Theft
- Recognizing and Avoiding Email Scams
Methods of Reporting Phishing Email to US-CERT
- In Outlook Express, you can create a new message and drag and drop the phishing email into the new message. Address the message to firstname.lastname@example.org and send it.
- In Outlook Express you can also open the email email@example.com . and select File > Properties > Details. The email headers will appear. You can copy these as you normally copy text and include it in a new message
- If you cannot forward the email message, at a minimum, please send the URL
of the phishing website.
* If the suspicious mail in question includes a file attachment, it is safer to simply highlight the message and forward it. Some configurations, especially in Windows environments, may allow the execution of arbitrary code upon opening and viewing a malicious email message.
For more information about phishing, see
Recommendations- What to do:
- Only open email or IM attachments that come from a trusted source and that are expected
- Use an anti-virus/anti-spam package (we recommend Norton 360 or Norton Internet Security scan all attachments prior to opening. Click here to see Norton 360 2013 on Amazon.com .
- Delete the messages without opening any attachments
- Do not click on links in emails that come from people you do not know and trust, even if it looks like it comes from a company you know.
- Keep your anti-virus software up to date
- Keep your operating system up to date with current security patches. Click here for an article that describes how to do this.
How to Reportall types of tax scams:
And please let us know about any suspicious calls or emails you receive. We look for patterns so that we can alert the authorities and victims to new scams, before it is too late!