There is a phishing scam going around purporting to be from the IRS. In this e-mail, they inform the recipient they are entitled to refunds of $92.35 or some other amount due to a calculation error on a past tax return. These e-mails are not from the IRS; they are from thieves who are attempting to extract your personal information to steal your identity and rack up thousands of dollars in charges they will make on your credit.
In this e-mail example, recipients were advised to go to a link and enter their identifying information that would normally be on their tax form, (i.e., name, address, DOB, SSN, etc.) in order to process their refund request. This email is BOGUS. The IRS never sends e-mails requesting personal information; they always send letters advising the individual of a pending problem.
These scams always turn up with renewed force during tax season, when many recipients act without thinking. Never enter your identifying information into a website without understanding exactly why you are doing it and where the information is going. For these types of e-mails, it is best to NEVER click on the link in the e-mail. Instead, type the url directly into the web address bar in your browser.
From the IRS website:
Phishing. Phishing is a technique used by identity thieves to acquire personal financial data in order to gain access to the financial accounts of unsuspecting consumers, run up charges on their credit cards or apply for new loans in their names. These Internet-based criminals pose as representatives of a financial institution and send out fictitious e-mail correspondence in an attempt to trick consumers into disclosing private information. Sometimes scammers pose as the IRS itself. In recent months, some taxpayers have received e-mails that appear to come from the IRS. A typical e-mail notifies a taxpayer of an outstanding refund and urges the taxpayer to click on a hyperlink and visit an official-looking Web site. The Web site then solicits a social security and credit card number. In a variation of this scheme, criminals have used e-mail to announce to unsuspecting taxpayers they are “under audit” and could make things right by divulging selected private financial information. Taxpayers should take note: The IRS does not use e-mail to initiate contact with taxpayers about issues related to their accounts. If a taxpayer has any doubt whether a contact from the IRS is authentic, the taxpayer should call 1-800-829-1040 to confirm it.
The IRS also gives information on how to report suspected tax fraud activity.
Be vigilant. Protect yourself against identity theft and computer fraud.