Phish Story: Fake IRS Emails On the Net

Bogus emails promising IRS tax refunds are making the rounds on the internet, scamming unsuspecting consumers into giving up personal and financial information. Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports.

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Almost 100 variations of the scam are circulating on the web, fooling some consumers into believing they're due a refund from the IRS. The emails use official-sounding language and ask for bank PIN numbers and passwords in order for the refund to be processed. The IRS's Lea Crusberg says the emails look real.

"One of the things about these emails too is they're taking the IRS logo and imprinting it on the web address and trying to attract individuals that this is legitimate, it's the IRS, we're contacting you, you're due a refund. Unfortunately, some people may think it's legitimate and may click on that and give-up their personal information."

Crusberg says the IRS never requests personal or financial information via email and that any such requests are bogus and could lead to identity theft.

"Don't fall for this. Nobody wants to have any of their personal information taken from them. Please don't fall for it. If you're listening in the area, just get the information to the Internal Revenue Service and protect your personal identity."

Officials says consumers can forward the scam emails to phishing@irs.gov. More than 7000 bogus emails have been forwarded to the IRS, with 1,300 sent last month.

Bio photo of Jack Williams

Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...