Tricounty News

Don't take the bait on phishing e-mails

While phishing e-mails strike consumers regardless of their financial status, in a tough economy, families literally cannot afford to fall victim to this common scam. Phishing e-mails around tax time usually tell the recipient that there's an issue with their refund, that they are being audited or that there is a problem preventing their taxes from being processed. In most cases, the fraudulent e-mail will provide a hyperlink directing potential victims to a Web site set up by the scammers, where victims are asked for Social Security numbers, bank account information or credit card numbers. And in some cases, these illicit sites are designed to automatically install viruses and malware on the victim's computer to steal personal information without the victim even knowing what has happened. The BBB Advises: Many tax-related e-mail phishing scams are run by people and organizations operating outside the United States, and their e-mails are often rife with spelling and grammatical mistakes. Bear in mind that if the IRS has questions or concerns with a tax return, they typically contact the taxpayer by mail, not e-mail. Those who have received a questionable e-mail claiming to come from the IRS may forward it to a mailbox the IRS has established to receive such e-mails at, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . For more trustworthy advice from your BBB on being a savvy consumer and navigating the 2009 tax season go to www.bbb.org.