Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Another Tax Season, Another Set of Tax Scams

The Internal Revenue Service recently announced that a variety of new scams involving everything from computer abuse to identity theft had surfaced during May and June. These include a tax refund scam (key: the IRS does NOT send unsolicited e-mail), economic stimulus scam (a 2007 Form 1040 or short-form equivalent triggers eligibility for the stimulus, not an e-mail "IRS form"), a substitute 1040 fax scam (again, the IRS does NOT send unsolicited faxes), company report (a phony "IRS company report" becomes the launching point for malware) and Tax Court scams (a taxpayer involved in a suit is asked to download files which end up being malware). A recurring theme--be wary of unsolicited e-mails purporting to come from U.S. Government sources--very rarely if ever are such documents legitimate.

Sigh--one wonders why people work so hard to come up with scams when they could be earning money legitimately. The flip side--if the government did not overspend by as much as they do and if some IRS officals in the past had not abused their authority (in fairness here, the IRS seems to be doing somewhat better since the "Taxpayers' Bills of Rights"), these scams would have less chance of success.


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