Warning: Possible Phishing Scam Uses IRS Refund as Lure

Campus email users should be on the lookout for email messages that appear to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Based on a number of characteristics of the email, these messages appear to be part of a phishing scam - messages that appear to be from a reputable business (often a financial institution) in an attempt to gain personal or account information. It is recommended that these messages be disregarded and deleted.

The fictitious IRS message is similar to other fraudulent email messages that evade campus anti-spam measures. Common characteristics of phishing email messages include:

  • Missing salutation or salutation does not use your first and last name.
  • The message offers money or warns that some account problem exists and states that the only way to address the issue is to visit a specific Web site.
  • The message threatens that failure to respond quickly will force the money to be withheld or the account to be closed.
  • The Web site provided in the message requires you to enter personal information such as a login ID, password, account number or Social Security number.

If you are unsure about the validity of a message, it is recommended that you look up the telephone number of the agency that appears to be sending the email and verify the issue over the telephone.

Content of false message:

From: refunds@irs.gov Subject: IRS Notification \023 Tax refund (Internal Revenue Service)
To: undisclosed-recipients

Internal RevenueService

Internal Revenue Service Department Notice

After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $249.30.

Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 3-6 days in order to process it.

A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons. For example submitting invalid records or applying after the deadline. http://www.irs.gov/small/businesses/international/refunds/pass.php?cmd=apply_refund

Please Note: If we do no receive the appropriate records within 48 hours, then we will assume this email is invalid and the refund will be suspended.

We appreciate your support and understanding and thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Internal Revenue Service Department

? 2007 Internal Revenue Service
Please do not reply to this email as this is only a notification. Mail sent to this address cannot be answered.

Internal Revenue Service