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IRS Internet Scams: If the Tax Man Emails You Out of the Blue, It's Fraud. Always.

IRS Internet Email ScamsAs buddy-buddy as you might be with the IRS, don't expect to get an email from the government's tax agency any time soon. And if you do -- as our editor did recently -- you can rest assured that it's a scam.

Here's the note our editor got in her inbox:

From: IRS
Reply-To: "noreply@girs.com"
Subject: Tax Notification
Our Ref. S/11434/12
Your Ref. 18B/765/12

NOTICE OF TAX RETURN FOR YEAR 2011

Dear Taxpayer, I am sending this email to announce: After the last annual calculation of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax return of: $253.04

To receive your return, you need to register for an e-Services account: Click here to register If you already have an e-Services account:

Click here to login For more info on government services go to www.irs.gov


It's tempting to take the bait. After all, who wouldn't want an extra $253.04?

But when DailyFinance followed up with the IRS, which is known for confusing documents, the agency made itself crystal clear: "The IRS does not initiate contacts with taxpayers through email," spokesman Anthony Burke said. "Our contacts go out to taxpayers through the U.S. mail. If we're sending you a notice of some sort, if there's a tax petition suit, you're going to get mail from us."

As with any email phishing scam, the danger is that if you follow the link, you could end up with a malware infection, such as a Trojan horse that logs your keystrokes and allows a hacker to gain access to your bank accounts.
Or, if you supply the website with personal information when it asks, you're laying yourself open to identity theft and larceny without the need for the hackers to go further.

In this case, the sending domain -- GIRS.com -- might at first glance be mistaken for an IRS site, but the URL actually sent recipients to a phishing page hosted in Saudi Arabia, according to Chester Wisniewski, a senior security adviser at digital security firm Sophos.

When we visited the now-disabled site, it did in fact look convincingly like an IRS website. The URL even contained the letters "IRS.gov" -- along with a long string of numbers that only a tech-savvy user might have recognized as problematic. (Astute readers of the email might also have picked up on the British spelling of the word "authorise" in the disclaimer, a tip-off that the author perhaps didn't learn English in the U.S.)

These days, Wisniewski noted, the majority of phishing and malware scams originate in the former Soviet Union, but in some ways, it's getting harder to tell. "They're hiring people to write professional English," he said. "The 419 guys are still writing broken African English. Small businesses in China trying to sell me large quantities of cheap goods and LED light bulbs -- there's lots of broken English. But the Russians behind banking fraud seem to be bringing more well-trained English [speakers]."

The result: What had been one of the biggest red flags of an Internet scam -- poor English -- is no longer one you can count on spotting.

The lesson is, if you're the least bit suspicious, don't take the bait. "I wouldn't give the IRS my email," Wisniewski said. "If your 'Spidey-sense' is tingling, just delete."

Jo-Stewart Rattray, the director of information systems security firm ISACA, advises going one step further.

"Pick up the phone and verify with the organization directly," she said. "Generally this is not the way that the IRS or banks choose to communicate with their taxpayers or customers ... The rule of thumb is, if it sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is."

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R

There are many types of fraud and scam email or advertisement, which are given below:
A. Some email or advertisement is intended to directly take money from people through temptation.
B. Some email is intended to hijack the email password or internet security to get credit card no. or any other personal business related information.
C. Some websites are intended to force the people to buy their anti-virus or anti-spyware software by falling the people in their trap.

A. Types of scam email or advertisements, which directly hijack the money through cheating and fraud:
1. Email sender claims himself/herself as a son or wife of any dead or killed millioniare or political leader.
2. Claiming himself as a bank manager.
3. Claiming himself/herself as a leader or commander of any defeated warring faction, or an ousted president of any country.
4. You are the visitor number 50,000,00 of this website, please claim your prize.
5. You have won the Lottery.
6. Your payment has been received
7. Offering any big order.
8. Data Entry Scam.

B. Identity Theft:
Some people encourage you to send your email password to them, which will be used to theft your credit card or paypal account.

C. Fraud Softwares:
Some fraud websites persuade you to download their software which will be starting to irritate you until you buy their paid version.

For details information about each type of scams and to know how to protect yourself from scam and fraud, please visit: http://www.humble-assistance.blogspot.com/

January 09 2013 at 10:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Henry ptnm

My girlfriend got a letter with a check over $12,000 from this company. She asked me about it. So I went to the internet and checked up on this company. The check was real but it was a scam. What they wanted her to do is deposit the check into her bank account and then they will wipe out her bank account. I told her to rip up the check and the letter which she did. There is no free money unless you win the Lotto and you have to buy tickets for it.

November 25 2012 at 6:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JE WA ZA WI

If you ever get a letter from the government, that states ,"We are here to help you ",you know it's a scam .

November 18 2012 at 4:42 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
toddG

Has anyone ever thought the IRS should be collecting money for we the people? I mean the fed has printed money out of nothing, then charges we the people interest on money it created out of nothing. the Fed bank doesn't pay imcome tax. It has devalued our money so it doesn't have the buying power it should. Shouldn't the IRS be collecting taxes from the Federal reserve to give to the Amerian people, the real Government?

November 18 2012 at 4:23 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Jeff Miletich

The amount of the refund is also a dead giveaway that this is fake. Everyone who files taxes should know what I'm talking about. I'm not posting the reason - why help the spammer-scammers?

November 18 2012 at 12:04 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
philboxer

If spelling and poor grammar are indicators of a foreign e-mailer, then half of all the commnets written on these boards must be from them also!

November 18 2012 at 9:49 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to philboxer's comment
ibe1grump

So verry verry troo

November 18 2012 at 8:14 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
freethedems2012

commnets? Clean up your own spelling.

November 26 2012 at 4:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Walter Seltzer

I get tons of these scam type e-mails, and my spam blocker doesn't filter them out.

I want to forward them to the FBI and the US Attorney General. Can anybody please e-mail me the e-mail address for the FBI and Attorney General so I can forward these scams to them.

theknotknut@aol.com

November 18 2012 at 9:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Walter Seltzer's comment
tsmomfla

Hi Walter...It is www.FBI.com and get insructions there. Good Luck!

November 18 2012 at 7:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cgossnail

You can send them to spam@uce.gov. I send all of the lotteries, "do you want to see my pics?" and "your credit card account needs to be verified....just enter your password..." I'd like to find these losers and....well, you get the picture.

November 18 2012 at 8:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mac2jr

Why are we the clients having to worry about virus protection, fraudulent emails, etc., when all of this goes through AOL, Verizon, and Google, and other company servers that can be updated by the micro-second to analyse, capture, and block these criminal attempts to cheat. We purchase and spend money each month for Virus software, which we should not have to do. Yes, AOL includes McAfee with its paid service, but still this is installed on the individual's computer, and not on AOL's server where it belongs. And Yes, McAfee has 'crashed' and slowed personal computers on which it is installed, and Yes it has taken hours to get it fixed, which is another reason for the anti-virus and malware to be stopped on the servers, not the home or office computer..

November 18 2012 at 8:57 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Chip's Haven

The first red flag was "Dear Taxpayer" ! If it is a legitimate email it will have your full name. Companies you do business with will address you with the full name you registered with them with. Meaning if you have a middle name, or you are a Sr, Jr, III, etc, they will address you by your full name. (The IRS knows your name) Now if your email address is your name it would be easy for a spammer to guess who to address the email to but for the most part, scammers have a list of millions of email addresses they got from somewhere and don't even know if any of the addresses are still valid. They simply send out emails hoping someone will take the bait. They send out so many that they don't have the time to track down the name that belongs to the email so what you get is Dear Taxpayer, or Dear Customer. When you see that, don't read any farther, hit delete because it is a scam. Always! A company that you do business with will address you by your full name. Also if you get an email from a company that you do business with and the email looks legit, always, always login to your account and you will see the same message in your in-box if it is legit. Never respond to the email, always login into your account and check it there. For example, if you get an email from your bank saying access has been denied, and to change your password. (We have all gotten this crap I am sure.) Login to your account and if the email is legit, you will see a message from the bank in your in-box.
Hope this helps someone,
Chip

November 18 2012 at 8:50 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Chip's Haven's comment
Jeff Miletich

I'm sure the scammers will appreciate all your help in making them better thieves...................

November 18 2012 at 12:06 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
hmoore1030

I've received hundreds of these emails along with some from the FBI, Swiss banks. They always seem to go after senior citizens. Folks don't realize, if you Fwd email to your friends and family, you should send it BCC, When I fwd email, I always delete all the old recipients listed and send a copy to myself and BCC the rest. I've recieved hundreds of emails with anywhere from 1 to 100's email addresses. This is where scammers get the email addresses they use.

November 18 2012 at 8:15 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to hmoore1030's comment
Dave

Don't forward! Copy and paste! That way you never send a virus or anything else that isn't supposed to go.

November 18 2012 at 9:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Dave's comment
ibe1grump

Such an easy and answer and yet so few do it.

November 18 2012 at 8:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
cgossnail

Thanks...will do. I rarely forward anything but remove all other names.

November 18 2012 at 8:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down