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One Step Ahead
April 8, 2008, Volume 54, No. 28

One Step Ahead

Another tip in a series provided by the Offices of Information Systems & Computing and Audit, Compliance & Privacy.

IRS Warning: Tax Season Scams

The US Internal Revenue Service is alerting taxpayers to a range of scams aimed at stealing either your money or your identity.

Many of the scams reference either your tax refund or the 2008 Economic Stimulus rebate as an incentive to get you to fall for the scam.

Some taxpayers have received bogus e-mail messages that purport to come from either the IRS or the Social Security Administration. The messages request personal information that would supposedly expedite the turnaround time of a tax refund or stimulus rebate. Some fraudulent e-mail contains links to fake government websites that request your Social Security number and bank account numbers so that the IRS can expedite your refund or rebate. For the record, the IRS expects to issue Economic Stimulus checks sometime in May or June, typically within three weeks of when you e-file your return.

Some bogus e-mails advise recipients to download documents notifying them of supposed changes in tax law. The documents in fact contain dangerous keylogging software that will steal credit card account and password information.

Remember that when IRS employees contact you with a question, they usually do so through US mail or telephone, not e-mail.  Don’t click  links or call agency telephone numbers in suspect e-mail messages.  Instead, contact the agency directly using phone numbers from public directories.

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For additional tips, see the One Step Ahead link on the Information Security website: www.upenn.edu/computing/security/.

Almanac - April 8, 2008, Volume 54, No. 28