Scam artists are really pushing the envelope these days on the web. The IRS is warning taxpayers that fake IRS websites have been set up in an effort to trick people into providing information that can be used for identity theft.
The variety and number of scams on the net are legendary. From Nigerian emails offering to send millions if you provide your bank account information to a wide variety of other scams, the net is full of fraudulent sites. The IRS used to be off limits because, well, it was the IRS. No longer.
The IRS sit is the initials followed by the “gov” extension since it is a government site. If you go to com, net or any other extension, you are not at the IRS site. Obviously, you probably shouldn’t provide any personal information at such sites if you are really trying to get it to the IRS.
There is another trick that you should know about when viewing sites. The fact a site looks like what you expect to see means nothing in relation to its authenticity. Scam articles can copy pages directly off a site and recreate it with relative ease. The key is to look at the domain and to find it by conducting a search through Google, Yahoo, MSN or whatever search engine you use. The engines are very good at listing the authentic site to the exclusion of fakes.
Another area to be careful with is your email. The IRS does not send emails to taxpayers. This is true even if the agency really wants to find you! As a matter of course, you should ignore all such emails because they are fakes. Ah, but what if they look really authentic? You can tell they are fake. Run your cursor over any of the links and look at the bottom of your screen for the real URL that pops up. If it says anything other than irsdotgov, it is a fake. You will usually see a bunch of numbers.
If you think the IRS may really be trying to contact you, do not reply or take any of the action requested in an email. Instead, pick up the phone and give the IRS a call at 1-800-829-1040. This way, you can be sure you are speaking with the authentic agency. Lucky you!
Richard A. Chapo is with BusinessTaxRecovery.com - deal with your back taxes today.