Phishing Scammers Getting a Jump on Tax Season

Monday, November 22, 2010



The Internal Revenue Service and local taxing authorities have issued warnings to consumers about a recent surge in phishing scams aimed at tricking people into revealing sensitive financial data like bank and credit card account details.

Phishing is a form of social engineering employed by criminals through any number of methods, most commonly through unsolicited phone calls or with bogus emails mocked up to look like official communications complete with logos and email addresses similar to those of the legitimate entities they seek to impersonate.

Recent alerts concern emails purported to be sent from the Electronic Funds Transfer Payment System which inform the recipient that there is a problem with their tax payments.

The email contains a link to a spoofed website that contains malicious malware that will infect the visitor's computer.

"We don't know what the phishers are looking for, or what the purpose of getting the info is. We do know that identity theft is a problem," says  state Board of Equalization spokeswoman Anita Gore.

Taxpayers who believe their being scammed can forward the e-mail or URL information to the IRS at

If uncertain about the veracity of a website, it is highly recommended that surfers use one of the many free website scanning tools available form reputable companies, such as Symantec's SafeWeb.


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