I Got a Refund Notice from the IRS – Except I’m a Canadian – What a Scam!

Like you, I love to get money back from the government. Since I am a Canadian, and I reside in Canada, when I do receive a refund on my income taxes that money comes from the government of Canada. Imagine my surprise then, when I received an email purportedly from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service advising me that I was eligible to receive an income tax refund of $873.20.

Tax refund (Message ID L9238s7ds8)‏

From:

Internal Revenue Service (efile@re-fund.co.us)

Sent:

February 23, 2008 9:51:16 PM

Reply-to:

efile@re-fund.co.us

To:

A Secure Way to Receive Your Tax Refund

After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that
you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $873.20.
Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 3-9 days in order to
process it.

A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons.
For example submitting invalid records or applying after the deadline.
To access the form for your tax refund, please click here
Note: For security reasons, we will record your ip-address, the date and time.
Deliberate wrong inputs are criminally pursued and indicated.

Regards,
Internal Revenue Service
Copyright 2008, Internal Revenue Service U.S.A. All rights reserved.

Unfortunately, since I am Canadian I will not be getting a refund from the IRS, but instead the scammers responsible for this email expected that I would click on the enclosed link. Clicking on the link would have begun the process whereby the scammers would have stripped me of all the confidential information I was willing to provide. The scammers would then have used the information to commit identity and financial theft.

The reality is of course, the IRS doesn’t send out unsolicited emails asking for personal or financial information. Credit card numbers, ATM PIN numbers and additional financial would never be required to find out the current status of your tax return, or your tax refund. The link in these phishing emails goes to a fraudulent IRS website, (http://spanishmegapixel.com/tien.da/images/.e-f), hosted abroad.

According to the IRS there are over 1600 IRS phishing sites operating, or online, at any given time in search of potential victims willing to hand over sensitive financial data. It’s easy to see that the email I received is not an isolated incident. The IRS goes on to say that by their estimates, 1% of all spam email is an IRS phishing scam.

What makes this particular scam so potent is the average person, on receiving an email from an authoritative source, generally lowers their defenses. As well, giving the time of year, the timing is right. Be warned, IRS scam emails always ramp up before tax day and continue for some time afterwards.

You know what to do right? Follow the tips below to protect yourself against these threats:

  • Your bank, the IRS, or any other legitimate organization will never ask you to divulge account information or passwords via email. Never give out this information, especially via email.
  • Don’t open emails that come from untrusted sources.
  • Don’t run files that you receive via email without making sure of their origin.
  • Don’t click links in emails. If they come from a known source, type them on the browser’s address bar. If they come from an untrusted source, simply ignore them.
  • Keep your computer protected. Install a security solution and keep it up-to-date. Also, before carrying out any kind of financial transaction on the Web, scan your computer with a second-opinion security solution, like NanoScan at www.nanoscan.com.

 

Elsewhere in this Blog you can download freeware anti-malware solutions that provide excellent overall security protection. Click here.

Be kind to your friends, relatives and associates and let them know that these types of scams are now epidemic on the Internet. In that way, it raises the level of protection for all of us.

To help you fight back, the following information has been taken from the official IRS web site and provides instructions on how to assist the IRS in shutting down these schemes.

The good news is that you can help shut down these schemes and prevent others from being victimized. If you receive a suspicious e-mail that claims to come from the IRS, you can relay that e-mail to a new IRS mailbox, phishing@irs.gov.

Follow instructions in the link below for sending the bogus e-mail to ensure that it retains critical elements found in the original e-mail. The IRS can use the information, URLs and links in the suspicious e-mails you send to trace the hosting Web site and alert authorities to help shut down the fraudulent sites. Unfortunately, due to the expected volume, the IRS will not be able to acknowledge receipt or respond to you.

IRS reporting site: phishing@irs.gov

About these ads

2 Comments

Filed under Email, Internet Safety, Malware Advisories, Online Banking, Online Safety, Phishing, Windows Tips and Tools

2 responses to “I Got a Refund Notice from the IRS – Except I’m a Canadian – What a Scam!

  1. Pingback: Irs » Blog Archive » I Got a Refund Notice from the IRS – Except I’m a Canadian –

  2. This is very hot information. I think I’ll share it on Facebook.