RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Scammers always come out right around tax time, and this tax season is no exception. Fake emails are going around claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service. They even showed up at NBC12.
Cyber-thieves are clever. Who can ignore a notice from the I.R.S. especially if it mentions 'audit', or changes that require you to update your 'W-2 form'. If you get one of these emails don't click on the link, and don't respond. Report it to the Internal Revenue Service.
It looks like a legitimate tax notice, but its author is a slick identity theft scammer phishing for bank account information, social security numbers, and any other information to steal. It showed up in my work in-box, here at the station announcing important changes to W-2 forms, asking me to update my records, before February 10th. It directed me to an attachment with the updated W-2 form I needed to complete. I ran it by our human resources director then called the I.R.S.
"It's very dangerous when you get these messages, sometimes they look official, they have I.R.S. graphics in them, don't click on any of the links because you could be opening your computer up to spyware, Trojan horses that type of thing," said Jim Dupree, Internal Revenue Service Spokesperson.
The official I.R.S. website is www.IRS.gov. This scam email is coming from: Irs.com. It's bogus and even though the real Internal Revenue Service web address is listed in the message -- don't click on it, it's another trick to get you to respond.
"There are unscrupulous folks that will take advantage of every situation. In the filing season they see some opportunities, so you need to be mindful there are people out there, posing as the I.R.S." said Dupree.
If the I.R.S. needs to reach you, they will through the postal system. You will never get a surprise email from the I.R.S. If you do, it's a scam.
"We never send unsolicited emails to taxpayers," said Dupree.
Also, don't fall for the confidentiality disclaimer at the end coaxing you to reply if you got the message by mistake. It's a trick too.
If you get one, you can forward it to the I.R.S. or call them at 1-800-829-1040. The I.R.S. is urging people to file electronically. Dupree says, it's safe, easy and fast -- and, if you choose direct deposit, you'll get your refund in as little as 10 days.