New tax scam targets military personnel
Friday, June 15, 2012
Today's the tax filing deadline for most servicemen and women stationed abroad, but in addition to paying attention to what they must report to the Internal Revenue Service, they need to be on the lookout for a new tax scam.
The scam's methodology isn't new. It's yet another email-based phishing trick.
But, says the IRS, this latest scam is specific. The fake message is going to Department of Defense military members, retirees and civilian employees.
The email appears to come from Defense Finance and Accounting Services, according to the IRS. It even displays a .mil email address.
The email states that persons receiving disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may be able to obtain additional funds from the IRS.
Email recipients then are asked to send various VA and IRS documents containing their personal and financial information, such as copies of VA award letters or their income tax returns, to an address in Florida.
But there are no additional benefits.
The crooks take the personal, tax and financial information and, using the senders' identities, empty their bank accounts, run up charges on their credit cards and apply for new cards, loans or benefits in the victims' names.
Be vigilant year-round: Tax-related phishing scams are common during the high tax season, January through mid-April.
Each year the IRS issues its list of the dirty dozen tax scams. And the video below highlights some of the tax scams that were particularly popular this year.
But as the crooks now trying to scam members of the military targeting show, the bad guys are always looking for ways to steal your identity and your money.
So please, please, please remember that if an unsolicited email promising more tax refund money or benefits you missed shows up in your in-box, it's 99.99 percent certain that it's a phishing scam.
Tax scam do's and don'ts: If you receive, or I should say when you receive since all of us will be a scam target eventually, a suspicious tax-related email --
- Don't believe anything in an alleged IRS email. The agency doesn't communicate with individual filers this way. If you have a question, call the IRS directly, and toll-free, at 1-800-829-1040.
- Don't reply to the emails, even to say "buzz off!"
- And definitely don't open any links in the con artists' messages. They could set off a computer virus or other malware designed to capture your private information.
OK, those are the don'ts. What should you do?
Forward any suspicious tax email to the IRS at email@example.com. Then delete it from your computer.
And if you think your personal information has been stolen by tax scammers, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.
You also might find these items of interest:
You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.