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IRS email scam alive and well in 2011

By: 16 February 2011 No Comment

It’s back and as obnoxious as ever — an email scam that dupes people into installing a virus in hopes of either avoiding trouble from the tax man or getting an email.

This isn’t a new scam, but it’s one that the IRS says is common this time of year. It’s been proven effective, too, and was the most common email scam two years ago. Why do people still fall for it even though it’s been around for awhile and people have been warned not to open attachments from unfamiliar people?

“No one wants to be in trouble with the IRS,” said David Stell, a Tulsa-based IRS spokesman.

Stell said the IRS has been getting the word out about the scam, adding the organization will never send emails to taxpayers about problems, refunds or anything else associated with their tax returns. The IRS, he said, tends to communicate through the U.S. mail and anyone who thinks they may have problems with their taxes — or are due a refund — should pick up the phone and call the IRS at 800-TAX-1040.

Stell said the IRS is well aware of the scam and can visit this site to find out more about it. For the most part, we’re talking about a phishing scheme — the scammer will send out an email with an attachment that, when opened, grabs personal information about the recipient and reports it back to the sender to be used for identity theft.

The recipient will typically receive an email reporting of a problem with a tax return or a refund. The recipient is directed to open an attachment, which is an executable file that installs itself and sends information to the sender. That executable might also be a virus that damages the recipients computer in various ways.

Whether we’re talking about phishing, viruses or anything else, Stell said the point remains — the IRS will never send an executable file to a taxpayer.

About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email =

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