Bluebonnet break
Tax pros gone bad

Tax phishing season still open

Fishing_lures_2 Although tax-filing season is rapidly winding down, criminals who want to take advantage of taxpayers are still out there giving it their all.

Identity thieves have ramped up their efforts with yet more e-mail phishing scams, according to the latest warning from the IRS. As in earlier incarnations, taxpayers receive messages purporting to be from the tax agency.

This time, the messages advise you that you've won a lottery, are entitled to a refund or that your help is needed by the IRS' "Antifraud Comission" (yes, they spell it that way in the e-mail). The e-mails then direct you to:

1. Enter personal information and e-mail it back to the sender, i.e., con artist,
2. Click a link to a phony Web site where you can enter said personal data, or
3. Send thousands of dollars in order to collect lottery winnings.

You've gotta love the chutzpah of these con artists. Invoking the mantle of antifraud efforts? Throwing out a lottery lure? I guess they live by the credo, nothing illegally ventured, nothing illegally gained.

OK, people. Let's step back for a minute. Take that purported lottery deal. The cons use a simulated IRS letterhead with the actual address of a tax office in Manhattan. But how many of you really think the IRS is going to be involved in a lottery, especially the awarding of the money?

This is the agency that takes our dough!

If the IRS ever contacted any of us about lottery winnings -- and it wouldn't do so vie e-mail even if it did -- the tax man would be getting in touch to tell us that we OWE money because of our winnings!

I'm sorry for the folks who fall for these things, since they obviously must be so desperate for money they'll believe anything. But my empathy is quickly offset by irritated amazement.

C'mon! These setups are so patently absurd! And that makes me think that maybe the victims aren't in that big of a need for cash. Maybe they're just lazy, looking for easy money.

In that case, they're not victims in my book, but accomplices of the scammers, keeping them in business by proving that, as P.T. Barnum (maybe) observed, there's a new one born every minute.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The comments to this entry are closed.