It amazes me when I think of how much spammers put into their schemes. They harvest emails, but they can do that fairly easily with software, a purchase, or a hack into a legitimate mailing list. It takes a certain level of intelligence and arrogance to think people will fall victim to their charms and shell out their cash. I’ll admit, I’ve fallen for scams before, but those entailed finding work. Some of the newer crop of scams are different. They give the appearance of coming from an authority figure of some kind such as a police department or the IRS.
This time a year a lot of people are thinking about filing those tax returns and dreaming of spending that Taxmas cash. The scammers know it and are targeting any and everyone who may file. This is the goodie I received today:
From: IRS.gov (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Tax Notification for (insert email address here)
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) United States Department of the Treasury After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive your tax return.
Due to invalid account records we were unable to credit your account. Please submit a verified tax return request as soon as possible. Your tax return request form is attached to this email.
After you submit the tax return request, please allow us 4 to 12 working days in order to process it.
Internal Revenue Service
January 17th, 2012 (6:38:56 p.m.)
Document Reference: (8945776449).
And of course, there’s an attachment I’m supposed to download, complete, and send to them. Using an irs.gov email address is a smart move on their part, but what they don’t realize is that people do not fall easily for suspicious emails when it comes to the government or the bank. I know I would check it out another way before I downloaded anything.
To make it easier for people to check out the claims, the IRS has posted notification of the scam and clarify how they operate. The IRS does not contact taxpayers by email and has asked that anyone receiving the fraudulent message forward it to phishing@irs,gov. While no one really likes paying taxes, people like being ripped off by criminals less.
Be safe and Happy Taxmas!