How to Report a Suspicious IRS Email

With identity theft growing at a staggering rate, all "official" emails must be treated with due caution.The Internal Revenue Service has issued several recent consumer warnings on the fraudulent use of the IRS name or logo by scammers trying to gain access to consumers’ financial information in order to steal their identity and assets. When identity theft takes place over the Internet, it is called phishing.

The good news is that you can help shut down these schemes and prevent others from being victimized. If you receive a suspicious e-mail that claims to come from the IRS, you can relay that e-mail to a new IRS mailbox,


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    Beware if you receive an email notifying you that the "IRS has determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and you would he treated as a public charity rather than as a private foundation during an advance ruling period."
    • The subject line refers to the IRS. The email contains "For more information of your tax refund please click here"
    • Don't click on the link!
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    Be suspicious if the email asks for your name, phone number and a credit card number. The purpose of the scam is to get access to financial information to withdraw money from your bank account, run up charges on your credit card or even take out loans in your name.
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    Don't open any attachments and don't click on any links in such emails.
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    Forward these suspicious emails to
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    Be on the lookout for other fraudulent IRS email scams. One of these tries to lure recipients to a fake IRS website and asks for bank account numbers. Another tells recipients that the IRS has a refund waiting for the taxpayer. A particularly scary scam warns taxpayers that the IRS "anti-fraud" office is investigating their tax returns.
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    Visit the real IRS web site for more information on these bogus emails and other phishing scams that purport to be from the IRS.
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    Contact the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration if you think you have been the victim of such a scam. The toll-free number is (800)366-4484.


  • The IRS does not send out unsolicited e-mails or ask for detailed personal and financial information. Additionally, the IRS never asks people for the PIN numbers, passwords or similar secret access information for their credit card, bank or other financial accounts.

Things You'll Need

  • What are suspicious e-mails or phishing? Phishing, as it is called, is the act of sending an e-mail to a user and falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft.
  • Report Phishing, e-mail scams and bogus IRS Web sites.
  • According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, phishers send an e-mail or pop-up message that claims to be from a business or organization that you may deal with — for example, an Internet service provider (ISP), bank, online payment service, or even a government agency. The message may ask you to “update,” “validate,” or “confirm” your account information. Some phishing e-mails threaten a dire consequence if you don’t respond. The messages direct you to a Web site that looks just like a legitimate organization’s site. But it isn’t. It’s a bogus site whose sole purpose is to trick you into divulging your personal information so the operators can steal your identity and run up bills or commit crimes in your name.
  • The IRS can use the information, URLs and links, in the suspicious e-mails you forward to trace the hosting Web site and alert authorities to help shut down the fraudulent sites.

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Categories: Email and Instant Messaging | Internet Security