IRS Warns That Scammers May Time E-mails to Try to Trick Filers


NASHVILLE -- Most people are aware that the April 15 tax filing deadline has just passed. The Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers that scammers are aware, too, and may send official-looking e-mails to phish for private information.

"The IRS doesn't ever send e-mails about your taxes," said IRS spokesman Dan Boone. "If you filed your tax return recently, don't let a scam e-mail trick you into thinking the IRS is contacting you about it."

Boone said nearly 72 percent of Alabamians e-filed their returns last year, and because electronic tax filing is so common, people may wrongly assume the IRS will contact them online about their taxes.  But the IRS never sends private taxpayer information by e-mail and will never ask for it that way, he said.

"If you filed electronically, you probably will get a confirmation e-mail from your tax software company but not directly from the IRS," Boone said.

According to Boone, phishing is close to the top of the IRS' 2010 Dirty Dozen Tax Scams list and these scam e-mails often are very convincing. They may say that a review of your taxes that has resulted in a refund or they may threaten you with an audit or investigation if you fail to respond. They may even include your name.

Boone also cautioned that clicking on links in scam e-mails or opening attachments may expose your computer to malicious code that will infect it.

Information is available at about how to assist the IRS in battling these scammers by forwarding the scam e-mails to the agency with the encoding still intact. Important information is also available for anyone who has responded to a scam e-mail by giving out private information.

Taxpayers are encouraged to read the entire 2010 Dirty Dozen Tax Scams list at so as not to become victims of or unintended participants in a tax scam.