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IRS Phishing Email Scam

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It’s Tax Season and Fraud is Rampant!

The UT System Office of Information Security wants you to be aware that several System Administration staff members received a fraudulent "phishing" email on January 20, 2016 designed to aid criminals in stealing people's identity.  The email came with a web form attachment  that very convincingly represents an IRS communication. It is important to note that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages, or social media channels to request personal or financial information.

What Action Should You Take?

Use this notice as a reference to become a proactive defender of your identity and to prevent becoming a victim of tax fraud.

  • Report all "phishing" emails to the Office of Information Security by forwarding a copy of the original email to abuse@utsystem.edu and help@utsystem.edu.
  • Report all unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS or an IRS-related function to phishing@irs.gov.  Recent scams have used the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) to attract potential victims.  Also, if you’ve experienced any monetary losses due to an IRS-related incident, please report it to the Treasury Inspector General Administration (TIGTA) and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) through their Complaint Assistant to make the information available to investigators.
  • Do not open ANY attachments or images in unexpected email messages, particularly if you don’t know the sender.  If you have received an email – even if the sending address is irs.gov – do not open ANY attachments or images.

What is phishing?

Phishing is a scam typically carried out through unsolicited email and/or websites designed by criminals and posing as legitimate business or organizations to lure unsuspecting victims into providing personal and financial information.

For more IRS phishing information visit http://www.irs.gov/uac/Report-Phishing.

General Tax Fraud awareness information:

Please be aware of possible tax-related identity theft that can occur when compromised Social Security numbers are used to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent return.

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Taxpayer-Guide-to-Identity-Theft    

Additional information from the IRS:

Steps to take if you become a victim

  • File a report with law enforcement.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.identitytheft.gov or the FTC Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-438-4338 or TTY 1-866-653-4261.
  • Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a ‘fraud alert’ on your credit records:
  • Contact your financial institutions, and close any accounts opened without your permission or tampered with.
  • Check your Social Security Administration earnings statement annually. You can create an account online at www.ssa.gov.

If your SSN is compromised and you know or suspect you are a victim of tax-related identity theft, take these additional steps:

  • Respond immediately to any IRS notice; call the number provided
  • Complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. Use a fillable form at IRS.gov, print, then mail or fax according to instructions.
  • Continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must do so by paper.

If you previously contacted the IRS and did not have a resolution, contact the Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.