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IRS Refund Scam Email

Summary:
Emails claim that the recipient is entitled to a tax refund from the IRS and should click a link in the message to fill out an online refund form (Full commentary below).



Status:
Emails are phishing scams designed to steal private financial information

Examples:(Submitted, July 2009)
Subject: Tax Notification

............................................................................................................

We are pleased to inform you that upon review of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $246.30 under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 3-6 days in order to process it.

To get your refund, please access the IRS e-file form.

IRS e-file form (Link to bogus website removed)

............................................................................................................

Note: For security reasons, we will record your ip-address, the date and time. Deliberate wrong inputs are criminally pursued and indicted.

Note: Because this letter could help resolve any questions regarding your exempt status, you should keep it in your permanent records.

David Morgan
Director, Tax Refunds Department


ATTN: Dear Applicant,

2009 - Recalculation Tax Refund
After the last annual calculation of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $284.23

Your TRN (TAX REFUND NUMBER): 2 7 9 0 2 1 6 8 1 5, please fill the payment form attached in the email. Please submit the tax refund and allow us 3-9 business days in order to process it.

Note: For security reasons, we recommend that you close your browser after you have finished accessing your refund status. - For security reasons, we will record your ip-address and date.
- Deliberate wrong inputs are criminally pursued and indicted.
Best Regards,
George Hoffman
Tax Credits Office Agent




Commentary:
For several years a series of phishing scam emails that claim to be from the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have been targeting US taxpayers. The emails inform recipients that they are eligible for a tax refund and instruct them to follow a link to fill out a refund form. The messages are not from the IRS but are instead phishing scams designed to steal personal and financial information from recipients.

Recipients who follow the links provided in the emails are taken to a bogus "tax refund" webform that is designed to resemble a genuine IRS webpage and asked to provide information such as credit card numbers and social security numbers. The scammers can collect any information entered into such bogus webforms and use it for fraud and identity theft

The IRS does not send unsolicited emails to consumers. If you receive one of these emails, do not follow any links provided or supply any information. Do not open any attachments that may arrive with the email.

Scammers use the same "tax refund" ruse to target taxpayers in other nations as well as the United States. For more current information about such tax refund phishing scams please refer to the following articles:
References:
IRS Warns of e-Mail Scam about Tax Refunds

Last updated: 31st July 2009
First published: December 2005

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen