Over the last year or so, people have been receiving phony emails from the IRS saying they have unclaimed tax refunds waiting for them. For most people, filing taxes is a confusing and tedious process so the idea that you might have unclaimed money is believable. If you ever come across an email from the IRS don’t believe it because the IRS never offers refunds through email or sends out unsolicited emails to taxpayers.
According to Snopes.com, mass phish emails have been sent to millions of internet users advising them that they are eligible to receive tax refunds of either $63 or $163, and they are invited to click on a link which takes them to an IRS site form through which they can claim those refunds. It turns out that the link given isn’t really the IRS website but an imposter site where you are instructed to enter all sorts of sensitive personal information (credit card number, expiration date, CVV code and ATM PIN) into an on-line form so that the putative refunds can be posted directly to your debit/credit card or bank account. Any information entered into such forms can be harvested by scammers and used for identity theft and other financial crimes.
Remember, the IRS never offers refunds through email or send out unsolicited emails to taxpayers. When the IRS needs to contact you, they will send notice via U.S. Mail, and every such notice includes a telephone number that the recipient can call for confirmation. Should you need to visit the IRS website for any reason, go there directly by entering the www.irs.gov URL into your web browser rather than following links in email messages.