Phishing and email scams are not uncommon on the Internet. Most individuals are now aware of what phishing and email scams are, but there are still those who don’t have a clue. Either way, it is important to brush up and be aware of what scams are out there so you can avoid your personal information getting in the wrong hands. When it comes to the IRS, you have to be very careful you know how they will correspond with you so you don’t send your vital information to the wrong place and to the wrong people.
Let’s say you get an email saying it is from the IRS and they need you to log into your account where you make your online installment payments and re-enter your payment information. So, you go to the website that looks just like the page you usually go to in order to make your payment and you follow the instructions given to you in the email. You hit the “submit” button and you feel good you were able to comply with the request made by the IRS in a timely manner.
But do you know what just really happened?
What just happened was you were phished. You were given a link in an email that looked like it was from the IRS, led to a page that looked like a legitimate IRS page, and you entered your financial information. A phishing email page looks legitimate, but it is not. These types of pages are “spoofed” pages more or less copied from the real page, but a close look at the address bar will show the address is not exactly what the address would be for the legitimate page. Unfortunately, that is something most people will not notice unless they are aware of the difference.
Now let’s say you get an email from the IRS, asking you to reply to the email with your social security number or other important information. Because it is from the IRS, you definitely don’t want to ignore the request. You provide them with the information they have requested.
This is an email scam because the scammer created this legitimate looking email that was official looking, had logos, and everything else the IRS would include in an email.
The truth is the IRS is never going to request personal information over the Internet. They are not going to send you an email that takes you to a page for you to enter financial information. They are also not going to send you an email telling you they need your social security number. The Internet is a wide-open place and the IRS is not going to put your personal information at risk in such a way. If the IRS needs information from you, they will send you a letter to let you know what they need and how you can provide them with the information. The IRS always corresponds via postal mail. It is your responsibility to call them and provide them with information or mail them the information they need. All of this is done for the safety of your personal information.
If you are ever sent an email like this, you can visit email@example.com and report the email to the IRS. It is important the IRS knows when phishing or email scams pop up so they can work to get them shut down.