BIRMINGHAM - The Internal Revenue Service is getting reports of people receiving e-mails that appear to be from the IRS and that promise the recipient a stimulus payment in return for disclosing personal information.
"These e-mails are not from the IRS and there is currently no government stimulus payment being sent to the general public," said IRS spokesman Dan Boone.
Boone said taxpayers affected by the economic downturn may be more likely to be deceived by these e-mails. He warned that the e-mails can be dangerous in two ways.
"First, if you are tricked into providing the private information requested," Boone said," you may then be a prime target for identity theft.
Second, if you access any links or attachments in the scam e-mail, you may unknowingly download malicious software to your computer that lets scammers steal your information."
Boone reminded taxpayers that the IRS never sends e-mails about their taxes.
"The IRS generally sends official communications through the U. S. Mail," he said, "and will not ask for credit card numbers or passwords."
Taxpayers should either delete the scam e-mails or send them to the IRS using the instructions at www.irs.gov. Click on the "Phishing and e-mail Scams" link for more information.