You may have received an email claiming to be from the IRS warning you about a problem with a tax payment. It may say something like, “LAST NOTICE: We decline your Federal tax payment,” followed by an ID number. Or, “LAST NOTICE: The Identification Number used in the company identification field is not valid.”
Jane Bryant Quinn has written an excellent posting about this scam. You can find it here:
Among the points she makes is that if the IRS is really after you, they will send you a written notice using the U.S. Postal Service – they will not send you an email.
She also points out that this scam is coming from a very sophisticated criminal gang which has brought a new twist to the fraudulent email scam. In the old-fashioned phishing scam, the criminal would ask you to click a link and then take you to a website that asked for your key data – passwords, account numbers, social security number. This phishing scam is different. If you click a link, you will be taken to a safe-looking web page. In the background – and completely unknown to you – they will load a piece of malicious code known as the Zeus banking Trojan. This malware will probe your computer and your computer activity to discover your crucial financial access data. The criminals will then drain your accounts.
Ms. Quinn reiterates the warning that you need to be careful about clicking links in email. To that advice, we would add – install eMail ID from Iconix. While Ms. Quinn is correct that the IRS does not send important legal notices by email, the IRS does send real email. Because our finance department at Iconix subscribes to the IRS Guidewire Service, we do get real email from the IRS. This is what real IRS email looks like when you use eMail ID in Outlook. You will notice that in Outlook eMail ID uses the Check-lock icon to highlight confirmed real messages. You may also notice that the fake IRS message lacks a Check-lock.
If you file your taxes electronically using the popular TurboTax service from Intuit, you will be looking for real emails that your taxes have been filed and your refund is coming. Again, eMail ID helps you by identifying real TurboTax email. This is an example of TurboTax email in a Gmail account that is enhanced with eMail ID.
The sidebar shows you where to get eMail ID for free.