Sheriff: Fake emails from the IRS are scams - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Sheriff: Fake emails from the IRS are scams

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MURRAY, KY (KFVS) - The Calloway County Sheriff is warning about an IRS email scam.

He says the IRS never contacts taxpayers via email, and if you have received an email claiming to come from the IRS, chances are the email is a scam.

Here are some tips on how you can protect yourself:

Identifying Scam Emails

Does the email ask for your credit card, bank account, PIN, password, or other sensitive information?

"The IRS does not send out unsolicited e-mails or ask for detailed personal and financial information. Additionally, the IRS never asks people for the PIN numbers, passwords or similar secret access information for their credit card, bank or other financial accounts." (Source: IR-2007-109)

Common Themes in Email Scams

Email scams often trick you into thinking you have a missing refund, are under criminal investigation, refers to a non-existent tax form, or asks for your credit card number.

Recent email scams have shown some similarities, such as spelling mistakes and showing tax refunds for an amount that includes dollars and cents. (Usually, tax refunds are for amounts in whole dollars.)

Don't Click on Links or Open Attachments

The email probably contains links to Web sites or attachments. Do not click on those links or open any attachments. Those Web pages or attachments could contain malicious software or code designed to hijack your computer.

Forward the Email to the IRS for Investigation

You can forward to the email to the IRS. Investigators at the tax agency will use the information contained in the emails to track down the criminals.

To forward the email, make sure your email software is displaying all the headers in the message. Many email programs show only the most important headers by default. Once you are displaying all the headers, forward the fake email to phishing@irs.gov.

"The IRS can use the information, URLs and links in the bogus e-mails to trace the hosting Web sites and alert authorities to help shut down these fraudulent sites." (Source: IR-2006-49)

The IRS will probably not acknowledge the receipt of your email.

Delete the Email

After forwarding the email to the IRS, delete the email. You might also want to run a scan of your computer using your antivirus or internet security program.

Contacting the IRS

If you have any concerns or questions about your taxes, you should contact the IRS directly.

Here's some phone numbers:

Tax refunds: 1-800-829-4477, or visit Where's My Refund on the IRS Web site.

Questions about your taxes: 1-800-829-1040, or visit a local IRS office.

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