IRS Refund E-mail Another Phishing Expedition

January 31, 2008 ( - You probably wouldn't think the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would be inclined to send you an email alerting you to the fact that you might be eligible for a tax refund.

And you’d be right.

The latest round of phishing emails purport to be from the “Internal Revenue Service []” The subject field reportedly says something to the effect of “2007 Fiscal Activity (Tax Refund.)”   A reference that many may find confusing in view of all the talk about that economic stimulus package rebate.

So-called “phishing” emails are used to trick people into revealing Social Security numbers, credit card accounts and ATM personal identification numbers so that the perpetrators can steal your money and/or your identity.  There have been a series of similar attempts lately – and more than one supposedly from the IRS (see  That Complaint from the FTC? It’s a Fraud, Phishing Scam Targets ADP ClientsThat E-Mail From the IRS? It Isn’t).

Most Recent Version

The most recent email message says that after a review, the IRS has determined that you are eligible for a tax refund – and then asks that you click on a link to a website where you are asked to fill out a tax refund request. That form asks for Social Security numbers, filing status, credit card account and personal identification codes.   The e-mails are signed, “Best Regards, Tax Refund Department, Internal Revenue Service,” and are accompanied by an official-looking copyright and “tax refund ID.”

Of course, the IRS doesn’t communicate by email (how would they know your email address, anyway?).   And taxpayers claim their tax refunds through the filing of an annual tax return, not a separate application form.


This latest attempt is a new variation of the refund scheme directed toward organizations that distribute funds to other organizations or individuals. In an attempt to seem legitimate, those scam e-mails purport to come from the Director of the IRS Exempt Organizations area of the IRS. That e-mail also asks recipients to click on a link to access a form for a tax refund. In reality, taxpayers claim their tax refunds through the filing of an annual tax return, not a separate application form.

If you receive this (or any other phishing email) that claims to be from the IRS, you are encouraged to forward it (without clicking on the links) to .

You can check out the latest scams at