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Beware of Scams that Look Like IRS Notices

People take notices from the Internal Revenue Service seriously, and scammers know it. Every year, the IRS gets thousands of reports of communications to taxpayers that are allegedly from the IRS, but are really fraudulent attempts to get information or money. The scams are known as phishing, and they try to convince people to give out personal information like bank account numbers and Social Security numbers. The thieves then use the information to steal money from their victims.

The IRS has this advice on avoiding phishing scams:

1. The IRS does not initiate taxpayer communications through e-mail. If you get an e-mail about your taxes: Do not reply. Do not open any attachments. Do not click on any links. Attachments and links could infect your computer with viruses.

2. If someone asks for personal financial information, PIN numbers, or passwords, they are NOT from the IRS. Internal Revenue does not ask for this information from taxpayers.

3. If you get suspicious calls, letters or faxes from people claiming to work for the IRS, report them to the IRS at 1-(949) 751-6456. People at this number can also tell you if there really is something the IRS needs to contact you about.

4. The IRS website is irs.gov. Don't be fooled by fake websites with names ending in .com, .org, .net, or anything else.

If you suspect any other tax-related scam, Orange County tax attorneys advise you to report the details to the IRS at http://www.irs.gov, keyword "phishing."

Source: irs.gov "Don't be Scammed by Fake IRS Communications" 2/23/2011

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