Tax Day Phishing Frauds: the IRS doesn't say "Thank You"!

From PCMag: "Tax Day Frauds Steal Your Cash",2817,2481380,00.asp

Some folks wait until the last minute ... in order to delay paying the IRS for as long as possible. Others just can't get it together without the pressure .... the deadline creates a sense of urgency. Tax Day fraudsters hope that urgency will impel their victims to wildly click phishing links in tax-related emails.

... ReturnPath analyzed how many of these fraudulent messages actually get read, and found that most recipients were smart enough to ignore the frauds. For most combinations of purported sender and subject line, the read rate was less than 5 percent.

Which fake messages fooled the most people? A message titled "Help Is On The Way," supposedly from H&R Block, earned a 7.7 percent read rate. However, the big winner was a simple "Thank You" [supposedly] from the IRS. Of those who received such a message, 35.3 percent went on to read it.

... don't click any links! If you have the faintest suspicion that the message might be valid, log in to the corresponding website manually and check on your account. You may even find a link to report the fraud.

It's not clear from the article how ReturnPath got their data.

In any case, since when does the IRS contact you by email? And since when do legitimate tax preparation companies spam potential customers?

The advice to log into your bank's (or whatever) website manually, every time, not via email links, is certainly solid! (Well-designed websites will also indicate when someone last logged in with your account.)

(image source: Ken Teegardin at Flickr)

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Great advice! Thanks, Grinning Cat.

A bit of musical humor:

(To the tune of "Frere Jacques"; don't remember who came up with these words)
Pay your taxes (2x)
As you ought (2x)
You may get a refund (2x)
Maybe not (2x)

At least the feds aren't using the super-simplified two-line tax form I've seen proposed:

  1. How much money did you make last year?    $_________.____
  2. Send it in.

Which came first:

1) "How much money did you make last year? $_________.____ / Send it in",

2) Grover Norquist, or

3) Tea Party Republicans?

Good advice, GC. Personally I don't do any of this online. I even avoid online banking. My idea is that they have to be online with it, but I don't. I pay my taxman (a year round professional) really good money to figure me up in less than 10 minutes. He knows all of the angles and they change yearly. The last time I did my own taxes it took me 2 or 3 days. "Nevermore" said the crow.

My tax goal is to break even yearly and I plan things that way. My wife doesn't like this because she wanted me to file with her so she wouldn't have to pay $400 plus. I told her I didn't want to pay her taxes.




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