Beware of Tax Refund ScamsThe tax season is here and the deadline for filing is less than two weeks away. If you receive an email from the IRS, it’s a bogus e-mail. The email looks like the real deal, but the IRS will never, ever send you an email about a tax refund.

The email tells the recipient that they’re eligible to receive a tax refund for a given amount. It instructs the recipient to click on a link contained in the e-mail to access and complete a form for the tax refund. The form requires the entry of personal and financial information.

Important: THE IRS WILL NOT SEND YOU AN EMAIL ABOUT REFUNDS!!!

How to Spot a Scam

Some email scams are very sophisticated, but here are a few things to look for;

  • An email that requires personal and/or financial information, such as name, SSN, bank or credit card account numbers.
  • An email asking you to participate in an IRS survey.
  • An email that comes in a form of penalties if you do not respond.
  • Many of these scams come from overseas and are written by non-English speakers. Look out for incorrect grammar or spelling errors.
  • An email that doesn’t have a link to the actual IRS Web site address (www.irs.gov). To see the actual link address, or URL, move the mouse over the link included in the text of the e-mail.

How to report a scam:

The IRS does not initiate taxpayer contact via unsolicited e-mail or ask for personal identifying or financial information via e-mail. If you receive a suspicious e-mail claiming to come from the IRS, take the following steps:

  • Do not open any attachments to the e-mail, in case they contain malicious code that will infect your computer.
  • Do not click on any links, for the same reason. Also, be aware that the links often connect to a phony IRS Web site that appears authentic and then prompts the victim for personal identifiers, bank or credit card account numbers or PINs.
  • Contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to determine whether the IRS is trying to contact you.
  • Forward the suspicious e-mail or URL address to the IRS mailbox phishing@irs.gov, and then delete the e-mail from your inbox.

Be careful and don’t forget that the deadline for filing is on April 15, 2010.

Read other scams & hoaxes here.