Internal Revenue Service

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Watch them tax e-mails!
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I got this in the Government channels this morning. Though I would pass it on.

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Subject: FW: IR-2008-011: IRS Warns of New E-Mail and Telephone Scams
Using the IRS Name; Advance Payment Scams Starting

Also thought you might want to pass along this timely warning came from
the IRS Newswire. It can also be found on the IRS web site at
http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=178061,00.html.

IRS Warns of New E-Mail and Telephone Scams Using IRS Name; Advance
Payment Scams Starting

WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers to
beware of several current e-mail and telephone scams that use the IRS
name as a lure. The IRS expects such scams to continue through the end
of tax return filing season and beyond.

The IRS cautioned taxpayers to be on the lookout for scams involving
proposed advance payment checks. Although the government has not yet
enacted an economic stimulus package in which the IRS would provide
advance payments, known informally as rebates to many Americans, a scam
which uses the proposed rebates as bait has already cropped up.

The goal of the scams is to trick people into revealing personal and
financial information, such as Social Security, bank account or credit
card numbers, which the scammers can used to commit identity theft.

Typically, identity thieves use a victim's personal and financial data
to empty the victim's financial accounts, run up charges on the victim's
existing credit cards, apply for new loans, credit cards, services or
benefits in the victim's name, file fraudulent tax returns or even
commit crimes. Most of these fraudulent activities can be committed
electronically from a remote location, including overseas. Committing
these activities in cyberspace allows scamsters to act quickly and cover
their tracks before the victim becomes aware of the theft.

People whose identities have been stolen can spend months or years - and
their hard-earned money - cleaning up the mess thieves have made of
their reputations and credit records. In the meantime, victims may lose
job opportunities, may be refused loans, education, housing or cars, or
even get arrested for crimes they didn't commit.

The most recent scams brought to IRS attention are described below.

Rebate Phone Call

At least one scheme using the word "rebate" as part of the lure has been
identified. In that scam, consumers receive a phone call from someone
identifying himself as an IRS employee. The caller tells the targeted
victim that he is eligible for a sizable rebate for filing his taxes
early. The caller then states that he needs the target's bank account
information for the direct deposit of the rebate. If the target refuses,
he is told that he cannot receive the rebate.

This phone call is a scam. No legislation has yet been enacted that
would allow the IRS to provide advance payments to taxpayers or that
determines the details of those payments. Moreover, the IRS does not
force taxpayers to use direct deposit. Those who opt for direct deposit
do so by completing the appropriate section of their tax return, with
bank routing and account information, when they file; the IRS does not
gather the information by telephone.

Refund e-Mail

The IRS has seen several variations of a refund-related bogus e-mail
which falsely claims to come from the IRS, tells the recipient that he
or she is eligible for a tax refund for a specific amount, and instructs
the recipient to click on a link in the e-mail to access a refund claim
form. The form asks the recipient to enter personal information that the
scamsters can then used to access the e-mail recipient's bank or credit
card account.

In a new wrinkle, the current version of the refund scam includes two
paragraphs that appear to be directed toward tax-exempt organizations
that distribute funds to other organizations or individuals. The e-mail
contains the name and supposed signature of the Director of the IRS's
Exempt Organizations business division.

This e-mail is a phony. The IRS does not send unsolicited e-mail about
tax account matters to individual, business, tax-exempt or other
taxpayers.

Filing a tax return is the only way to apply for a tax refund; there is
no separate application form. Taxpayers who wish to find out if they are
due a refund from their last annual tax return filing may use the
"Where's My Refund?
" interactive application on the IRS Web site at IRS.gov. The only
official IRS Web site is located at www.irs.gov.

Audit e-Mail

Another new scam brought to IRS attention contains features not seen
before by the IRS. Using a technique calculated to get almost anyone's
attention, the e-mail notifies the recipient that his or her tax return
will be audited. This is the first scam of which the IRS is aware that
uses this to get the victim to respond.

Unusual for a scam e-mail, it may contain a salutation in the body
addressed to the specific recipient by name. Most scam e-mails seen by
the IRS are sent using the same technique used by spammers, in which
hundreds of thousands of messages are sent to potential victims based on
Internet address. Because of the volume, the typical scam e-mail is not
personalized.

This e-mail instructs the recipient to click on links to complete forms
with personal and account information, which the scammers will used to
commit identity theft.

This e-mail is a phony. The IRS does not send unsolicited, tax-account
related e-mails to taxpayers.

Changes to Tax Law e-Mail

This bogus e-mail is addressed to businesses, accountants and "Treasury"
managers. It instructs them to download information on tax law changes
by clicking on a series of links to publications on businesses, estate
taxes, excise taxes, exempt organizations and IRAs and other retirement
plans. The IRS believes that clicking on a link downloads malware onto
the recipient's computer. Malware is malicious code that can take over
the victim's computer hard drive, giving someone remote access to the
computer, or it could look for passwords and other information and send
them to the scamster. There are other types of malware, as well.

The urls contained in the link are not legitimate IRS Web addresses. All
IRS.gov Web page addresses begin with http://www.irs.gov/.

Paper Check Phone Call

In a current telephone scam, a caller claims to be an IRS employee who
is calling because the IRS sent a check to the individual being called.
The caller states that because the check has not been cashed, the IRS
wants to verify the individual's bank account number. The caller may
have a foreign accent.

In reality, the IRS leaves it entirely up to the individual to choose to
cash or not cash a paper check. The IRS has no business need to know,
and does not ask for, bank account or similar information, except when
taxpayers indicate on their tax return that they are opting for the
direct electronic deposit of their refund. In that case, however, it is
the individual's responsibility to provide the IRS with the correct bank
routing and account numbers on the tax return; the IRS does not contact
taxpayers to verify the information.

What to Do

Anyone wishing to access the IRS Web site should initiate contact by
typing the IRS.gov address into their Internet address window, rather
than clicking on a link in an e-mail or opening an attachment.

Those who have received a questionable e-mail claiming to come from the
IRS may forward it to a mailbox the IRS has established to receive such
e-mails, phishing@irs.gov, using instructions contained in an article on
IRS.gov titled "How to Protect Yourself from Suspicious E-Mails or
Phishing Schemes
." Following the instructions will help the IRS track the suspicious e-mail
to its origins and shut down the scam. Find the article by visiting
IRS.gov and entering the words "suspicious e-mails" into the search box
in the upper right corner of the front page.

Those who have received a questionable telephone call that claims to
come from the IRS may also use the phishing@irs.gov mailbox to notify
the IRS of the scam.

The IRS has issued previous warnings on scams that use the IRS to lure
victims into believing the scam is legitimate. More information on
identity theft, phishing and telephone scams using the IRS name, logo or
spoofed (copied) Web site is available on the IRS Web site at IRS.gov.
Enter the terms "phishing," "identity theft" or "e-mail scams" into the
search box in the upper right corner of the front page.

     
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Rebate Dates for your perusal
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Stimulus Payment Schedule for Tax Returns Received and Processed by April 15

Economic stimulus payments will be issued according to the last two-digits of the main filer's Social Security number. People who use direct deposit also will be among the first to receive the payments starting May 2. Paper checks will be put in the mail starting May 16.

DIRECT DEPOSIT

Last two SSN digits: Payment will be transmitted:
00 through 20 May 2
21 through 75 May 9
76 through 99 May 16

PAPER CHECK

Last two SSN digits: Payments will be mailed by:
00 through 09 May 16
10 through 18 May 23
19 through 25 May 30
26 through 38 June 6
39 through 51 June 13
52 through 63 June 20
64 through 75 June 27
76 through 87 July 4
88 through 99 July 11

People who file a return after April 15 will receive their economic stimulus
payment, but probably about two weeks later than the schedule shows. A
return must be filed by October 15 in order to receive a stimulus payment
this year.

Thought this might interest you all. I was surprised to see that they would be sending them out so soon.

     
Replies
Single Mother/head of Household Audits!
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Rating: 1/51

WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA -- IRS is auditing head of household/single parents at an alarming rate!! Totally picking on lower middle class. I have been audited twice in 2 years!! What in the heck is going on and what can be done? They are complete bullies!! Nothing has changed since 2007 however they want me to jump through hoops, understand their legal jargon and provide documentation they already have!!!

I have been a single mom for 6 years and provided sole support for my daughter. I have always had a job and NEVER applied for government benefits.

     
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IRS Snatches Stimulus Refund
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SOUTH CAROLINA -- How can the IRS snatch my stimulus money from me but yet they let Geitner slide and a 100 other companies on the Wall street scene. I know I owe the IRS 6000.00 But I am a struggling teacher and have two kids to feed. They just took the money and I asked them when did congress meet to decide this action and their excuse was everyone that owes gets money taken.

How can this happen and the companies like AIG that owe money get bailout funds. This is crooked and wrong.

     
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Be careful of rebate scams
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Even before Congress passes an economic stimulus package, identity thieves are using promises of tax rebates to trick people into revealing financial and personal data, the Internal Revenue Service warned Wednesday.

Under one scheme, the IRS said, people are receiving phone calls telling them they can only receive a rebate if they provide bank account information for a direct deposit.

The tax agency stressed that it does not collect information by telephone and that no legislation has been enacted that would allow it to provide advance payments to taxpayers or that specifies the details of those payments.

Read more from CNN

* I can attest to this. Last year, I got a phone call from someone asking for this information. I asked how they got my phone number (as they called me on my cell phone.) They said they got it off my tax forms. When I pointed out that there was no phone number listed on my tax forms, they hung up.

     
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2008 Stimulus Payments
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This is the payment schedule for the 2008 Stimulus Payments. Interesting!!!

2008 Stimulus Payments from the IRS website

     
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