Tax season is a dangerous time. Identity thieves can file a fake tax return in your name and tie up your real return. Tax preparers can steal your identity. Any visitor in your home who stumbles across your W2s or finished tax return can get tons of personal information.
Then there are the email phishing scams. Every year, scammers send these out hoping to trick people into clicking a link, downloading an attachment or giving up their information, and they've gotten very good at it. I got one scam email in my inbox just last night that's a doozy and I have to share it with you.
Here's the email itself:
From: Internet Revenue Service <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Payment confirmation for tax refund request #75991792
You are receiving this notification because your tax refund request has been processed.
Please find attached a copy of the approved 1040A form you have submitted, containing your personal information.
On the last page, you can also find the wire transfer confirmation from the bank.
Transaction type : Tax Refund
Payment method : Wire transfer
Amount : $7592
Status : Processed
Form : 1040A
Additional information regarding tax refunds can be found on our websites: http://www.irs.gov/Refunds.
Please note that IRS will never ask you to disclose personal or payment information in an email.
Internal Revenue Service
Address: 111 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20224
As you can see, this looks very much like an official email. It has an irs.gov email address, the links are all the correct irs.gov links and it even includes a warning not to give out personal or payment information in an email. Very clever.
So, where does it go wrong?