How to Identify Fake Emails from the IRS

Just about anyone who is on the Internet and has an e-mail box, has received one of those e-mails from some attorney in Nigeria announcing you have secretly won the lottery you never entered or perhaps from some British banker alerting you to the fact that some long lost uncle has left you a fortune. You can usually know it’s a scam before you get to the end of the first sentence. But how could you know, if you received what appeared in every way to be a legitimate e-mail from the IRS, is actually valid?

Today there are multitudes of Internet criminals out there thinking up new an enticing schemes to relieve unsuspecting citizens of their hard earned cash or personal information. One favored method of these nefarious Internet scam artists, has been to impersonate the IRS, sending e-mails that look in every way as though they actually came from the IRS. So how can you no whether an e-mail you receive is actually from the IRS or one of these scam artists?

First and foremost, the IRS does not send out unsolicited e-mails or conduct business via e-mail. Therefore, if you receive an unsolicited e-mail that looks like it came from the IRS, it’s a fake, plain and simple. Furthermore, these fake e-mails from the IRS are often asking the recipient to respond by verifying their social security number or other information, perhaps a bank account number for direct deposit of a refund check. The fact is, the IRS already knows your social security number, bank account numbers and just about anything else they want to know about you. If you receive an e-mail from the IRS or for that matter anyone requesting this kind of personal information you can be sure it is a scam.

Of course, nobody wants to take chances when it comes to dealing with the IRS, and even though we know they are not going to contact us by e-mail, the fake ones can seem so real that they leave a disconcerting feeling if we simply delete them. To set your mind at rest, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 and if they sent you an e-mail there will be a note to that effect in your file and they can confirm or deny it. Another thing the IRS would like you to do if you receive one of these scam e-mails from the IRS is forward it to them at:  [email protected] 

A final thought, in today’s world it pays to be suspicious. If you receive an e-mail from the IRS or any other official looking business or organization, assume that it is a scam until you can prove otherwise and if the email has attachments, do not open them under any circumstances.