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NEWS | Nov. 19, 2008

IRS warns of fraudulent e-mails

By James C. Dupree IRS Field Media Relations

The Internal Revenue Service is warning the public of a scam that could be lurking in your e-mail inbox.

These "very official" looking e-mail messages alert people about a refund owed to them, but when opened they can be dangerous to both you and your computer.

We're getting reports of people receiving e-mails that appear to come from the IRS and instruct recipients to respond, click on a link, or open an attachment in order to get their 2008 Economic Stimulus Refund. 

If you access a link or open an attachment in these bogus e-mails, you may allow the scammers to download malicious software onto your computer and you should immediately scan your system for viruses and spyware - plus be alert for suspicious activities on your financial accounts.

If you have actually responded to a scam e-mail by giving out your private information, you should immediately take steps to prevent identity theft. You may now be a prime target.

There are three important messages the IRS wants people to remember:

* The IRS never sends unsolicited e-mails about your taxes. 

* If you get a suspicious looking e-mail, don't access any links or attachments. 

* If you have already filed a 2007 federal tax return with the IRS, you don't need to do anything else to get a stimulus payment. The IRS will take care of the rest.

Anyone who receives suspicious e-mails addressed from the IRS can help stop these scammers by forwarding them to the IRS at

For special instructions on how to forward these messages, or for more information about tax scams, visit The IRS also provides information on its Web site to help taxpayers protect their personal and financial information.