More on IRS Phishing Attacks

I’m sure you all know it’s tax time again, right? As we all battle the hassles of doing our taxes, some phishers have decided to take advantage of this time of year. As you know, phishing is the act of sending e-mail or other communications with the intent of trying to get personal information from an individual. Since it’s tax time, it’s the perfect opportunity for phishers to pretend they’re the IRS. They will send an e-mail that appears to be from the IRS. They will ask you to click on a link or reply to an e-mail and provide your personal information, such as your social security number, birth date, tax payer IDs, bank account information and so on.

The IRS has reported that phishing scams using their name has gone up nearly 12 times the amount of last year. The IRS has also said that they have shut down nearly 1,700 phishing Web sites that claim to be part of their service. This issue has grown to be a huge problem. With these threats at an all time high and identity theft also being a major issue, it’s important not to fall as a victim to one of these attacks.

Protecting yourself from these types of attacks can be tricky though. Many attempts at phishing your personal information will seem very real. They will appear to be a legitimate e-mail from the IRS asking for your information. The links in the e-mails will take you to Web sites that appear to belong to the IRS, which is why they have made a very clear policy for e-mailing. The following is a quote from the official IRS Web site:

“The IRS never sends out unsolicited e-mails and under no circumstances, requests credit card information and pin numbers through e-mail. Persons receiving e-mails that claim to be from the IRS should not attempt to visit any site contained within the e-mail and should report suspicious e-mails to TIGTA or the IRS.”

If you feel you have received a phishing e-mail that claims to be from the IRS, you should not delete the e-mail. Rather, you should immediately forward it to the address. Doing that will help the IRS find and prosecute the people who are creating the phishing attacks. It will not only help you to stay safe, but it will help others remain safe as well. Until next time, stay safe out there, my friends!

~ Gary