Each year, the tax season attracts cybercriminals hoping to take advantage of people – and this tax season is no different. Earlier today, the IRS issued a warning to University students, faculty, and staff indicating fraudsters are using email to impersonate the IRS to collect information that the criminals can easily use for identity theft.
The email targeting users with .edu email addresses may have a subject line such as “Tax Refund Payment” or something similar. Embedded in the email is a link that takes the recipient to a website where the following information is requested:
- Social Security Number
- First Name
- Last Name
- Date of Birth
- Prior Year Annual Gross Income (AGI)
- Driver’s License Number
- Current Address
- State/U.S. Territory
- ZIP Code/Postal Code
- Electronic Filing PIN
If you receive an email that purports to be from the IRS, DO NOT click on the email link, but report the email to the IRS using the following steps:
- For security reasons, save the email using “save as” and then send that attachment to email@example.com or
- Forward the email as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The IRS strongly encourages users who believe they may have inadvertently provided data to the identity thieves should give thought to obtaining an Identity Protection PIN. THE Identity Protection PIN is an IRS-sponsored opt-in program that allows users to assign a six-digit PIN to their accounts and prevent the thieves from submitting bogus tax returns in the victim’s name.
Also, be aware the IRS does not communicate with taxpayers via email. All IRS correspondence is conducted through the US Postal Service.
Author: Bill Green
Graphic Courtesy of Freepik