IRS warns of new scam for look-alike website

News

November 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Getting an email from the I-R-S might make some of us snap to attention, but Iowans are being advised if they get such an item in their in-boxes, they can likely just delete it. I-R-S spokesman Christopher Miller says a new tax scam is making the rounds. “The IRS is warning taxpayers to be on the lookout for fake emails that seem like they’re from the IRS inviting them to sign up or register for something called e-services or electronic services,” Miller says. “If you get an email like that, don’t fall for it, it’s a scam.”

The agency -does- offer an e-services program but it’s for professional tax preparers only, not the general public. He says the phony website looks almost identical to the real one. If the tax collection agency wants to reach you, Miller says, it won’t be using that means. “The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to ask for personal or financial information,” Miller says. “That includes any type of electronic communication, like text messages or social media. If you get something that seems like the IRS is trying to contact you by email, it’s going to be a scam.”

If you do wind up on what appears to be an IRS website, there’s one sure way to verify it’s authentic. “The only official website of the IRS is www.irs.gov,” Miller says. “Don’t be fooled by sites claiming to be the IRS but that have addresses ending in dot-com or dot-net or dot-org. The only real IRS site is IRS.gov.” Criminals use these look-alike websites to lure people into providing personal and financial information that may be used to steal the victim’s money or identity. If you find a suspicious website that claims to be the IRS, send the web address by email to phishing@irs.gov using the subject line, “Suspicious Website.”

(Radio Iowa)