Yesterday I received an email that looked like it came from the IRS. The subject was ominous:
Notice of Unreported Income
I can tell you, it gave me that hollow feeling in my stomach, like when you know you’re in for some really bad news.
In the body of the email it gave some official looking information and a link:
Taxpayer ID: support-00000174073547US
Tax Type: INCOME TAX
Issue: Unreported/Underreported Income (Fraud Application)
Please review your tax statement on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website (click on the link below):
review tax statement for taxpayer id: support-00000174073547US
Internal Revenue Service
There was a link in the email that at first glance did look like it came from the IRS website. The link started with http://www.irs.gov….. which I know to be the actual IRS website. However, when I looked at the entire link, I saw that the domain was actually www.irs.gov.eu, which means that it is a European site. I took it a step further and plugged that “issue” into a search engine and the very first result was for news site that was reporting this as an identity theft scam. Another of the search results was from one of my favorite sites, Snopes.com.
The IRS website has a page where you can report phishing emails that appear to be coming from the IRS.
If you receive one of these emails, don’t open any attachments or click on any links in it. In fact don’t even open it.