Every holiday and tragedy is another reason for SPAM email to take advantage of our hearts, identity and bank accounts. Usually we are so caught up in the emotion of the moment, we do not immediately question who is requesting our help or if they are legitimate. This has gone beyond fake donation requests for causes like Haiti, but now extend to fake legal collection emails claiming that students were caught watching movies on line or downloading music for ‘free’ illegally.
As a general rule of thumb, remember that any IRS agent will NEVER USE EMAIL as a means of getting in touch with you. It will always be postal mail and never just an email.
The AARP has put together a helpful list of tips regarding fake IRS emails and how to stay safe on line:
If You Get an E-mail Notice
If you receive an e-mail from someone claiming to be the IRS or directing you to an IRS site:
- Do not reply to the message.
- Do not open any attachments. Attachments may contain malicious code that will infect your computer.
- Do not click on any links. If you clicked on links in a suspicious e-mail or phishing website and entered confidential information, visit the IRS website and enter the search term ‘identity theft’ for more information and resources to help.
If you receive a phone call, fax or letter in the mail from an individual claiming to be from the IRS but you suspect they are not an IRS employee, contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to determine if the IRS has a legitimate need to contact you. Report any bogus correspondence.