DALLAS - With tax season in full swing, remember that the IRS does not use email to initiate contact with taxpayers about issues related to their tax matters. In other words, the IRS never sends out unsolicited emails, and under no circumstances, requests credit card or other personal financial information through email. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels.
Persons receiving emails that claim to be from the IRS should not attempt to visit any site contained within the email or open any attachments. Report suspicious emails to the IRS by forwarding them to email@example.com. The IRS can use the information, URLs and links in the suspicious emails you forward to trace the hosting website and alert authorities to help shut down the fraudulent sites.
"These brazen attempts to trick you could even threaten serious consequences if you don't respond," said Clay Sanford, an IRS spokesman in Dallas. "They might direct you to a website that looks just like the real IRS website, but don't be deceived--the sole purpose of these bogus messages is to trap you into divulging information so the operators can commit a crime."
Some fraudulent emails may contain viruses that could wreck havoc with your computer or mobile phone, so even opening an attachment or clicking on a link within the body of the email could pose a problem.
"Over the years, we've seen deceptive e-mail scams that asked for bank account numbers--they told taxpayers they were due a refund or that they are even under criminal investigation," Sanford warned. "These wrongdoers put extra effort into using font styles, colors and logos to make their communications look genuine, so be on guard when going through your email."