One minute you think you’re in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service, and the next, you’re filing a stolen identity report.
Christopher Miller, an IRS spokesman, says there is a dangerous e-mail being circulated in the agency’s name. Miller says the scam is intended to fool people into believing they are under investigation by the IRS Criminal Investigation Division.
He says the email claims the recipient is under a criminal probe for submitting a false tax return, usually to the California franchise board. Miller says the e-mail seeks to entice people to click on a link to get more information.
"Don’t do that. The IRS warns people that the e-mail link and attachment is actually a trojan horse that can take over your computer and hard-drive and allows someone to have remote access," he says.
Like the phishing scam that was circulating last year that appeared to be from the IRS, Miller says the agency does not, for any reason, send unsolicited e-mail to anyone at anytime. "So if you get any unsolicited email from the IRS where you haven’t already tried to contact them personally, don’t believe it," Miller says. "It’s a scam."
In response to that previous phishing scam, the IRS developed an e-mail address that people could send suspect e-mails to, so they can be documented and preferably stopped. Miller says the mail box for "firstname.lastname@example.org" has been an overwhelming success. It’s brought 17,000 emails on 240 separate scams.