Columbia, SC - 12/13/2010 - The BBB of Central SC and Charleston has recently began receiving phone calls and emails from consumers who are receiving bogus emails claiming to be from the IRS. Please click here to view sample email. Consumers should protect themselves against online identity theft and other scams that increase during the holiday season. Such scams may appropriate the name, logo or other appurtenances of the IRS or U.S. Department of the Treasury to mislead taxpayers into believing that the scam is legitimate.
Most scams impersonating the IRS are identity theft schemes. In this type of scam, the scammer poses as a legitimate institution to trick consumers into revealing personal and financial information - such as passwords and Social Security, PIN, bank account and credit card numbers - that can be used to gain access to and steal their bank, credit card or other financial accounts. Attempted identity theft scams that take place via e-mail are known as phishing. Other scams may try to persuade a victim to advance sums of money in the hope of realizing a larger gain. These are known as advance fee scams.
The BBB reminds consumers that the IRS does not initiate taxpayer communications through e-mail. Also, the IRS does not send e-mail requesting your PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.
You may also report misuse of the IRS name, logo, forms or other IRS property to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration toll-free at 1-800-366-4484.