W-2s are rolling out across the country and most everyone is starting the dreaded tax process. Every year IRS receives thousands of reports from taxpayers receiving suspicious emails, phone calls, faxes, or notices claiming to be from the IRS. Many of these scams use the IRS name or logo as a lure to make the communication more authentic and enticing. They call it "phishing." End users are lured into revealing personal and financial information like a Social Security number, bank account, or credit card number, which is then used to commit identity theft or to simply steal your money.
Here are a few things you should know about phishing scams:
First of all, The IRS doesn't ask for detailed personal and financial information like PIN numbers or passwords. And they don't initiate taxpayer communications through e-mail and won't send a message about your tax account.
The official IRS website is http://www.irs.gov. Don't be confused by similar addresses.
If you receive an e-mail from someone claiming to be the IRS or directing you to an IRS site do not reply to the message. Do not open any attachments. Do not click on any links.
If you think the IRS is trying to get in touch with you, contact them at 1-800-829-1040.
You can help shut down these schemes and prevent others from being victimized. Details on how to report specific types of scams and what to do if you've been victimized are available at http://www.irs.gov, keyword "phishing."
This is just one of many viewpoints. If you'd like to comment we want to hear from you. Click here to e-mail your response on-line right now, or write us at the address below. Either way, be sure to include your name and hometown in case we use your comment on the air.
P.O. Box 100
Cape Girardeau, MO 63702