Is that IRS Email Really from a Phisherman?

March 31, 2014 | By Kevin Judge

IRS TaxesMillions of Americans are working hard these days to finalize their tax returns before the annual April 15th deadline. With the IRS on our minds, hackers are launching phishing email campaign pretending to be from our favorite agency in the US Treasury department.

If you get such an email threatening that you will be turned over to local law enforcement unless you pay a sum of money immediately, don’t panic. For one thing, the IRS does not work with local law enforcement, strictly through the Treasury and their agents.

Second, if you want to make sure that this is just a scam, right click on the sender email address and any link they want to send you to. You should find that the actual domain names are not .gov and have nothing to do with US Federal agencies.

Of course, this is good advice for any suspicious email. If you get an email from a major bank asking you to update your security credentials, chances are you will find that the actual sender and any links are not from that bank. You should never click on links in emails unless you are certain you know the sender.

Unfortunately, a moment’s lapse of judgment can cause a lot of pain. In addition to fraudulent demands for money, as in the IRS case, such a lapse could provide hackers with your banking login credentials or give the hackers a chance to download malware on your computer.

You should also be aware that then scammers do not limit themselves to email fraud. Some are telephoning their targets pretending to be from the IRS and demanding cash. If you have any doubt, just tell them to send any payment notice to you in writing.

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