Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Getting e-mails from the Internal Revenue Service telling you you're due for a stimulus payment? Don't believe them.
It's just part of a simple "phishing" scam designed to get vital financial information out of you, says the IRS.
"After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a Stimulus Payment," begins a common variant of the e-mail, which often bears IRS letterhead. "Please submit the Stimulus Payment Online Form in order to process it."
Recipients are directed to download an attached form, or given a link to a Web site, and told to provide their names, bank accounts and bank routing numbers so that payments can be directly deposited.
The scam's actually been going on for a few years — the IRS Web site has an example from 2006.
"The IRS does not request detailed personal information through e-mail," the tax-collection agency states on its Web site. "The IRS does not send e-mail requesting your PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.