Fake E-mails Offer Help To Get Stimulus Payment
State Attorney General Roy Cooper is warning residents not to fall for fake IRS e-mails that promise to help you get your economic stimulus tax refund quicker if you share your personal information.
"These phishing e-mails are a scam designed to steal your personal information and drain your bank account," Cooper said. "The IRS isn't contacting people about their refunds by email, so don't take the bait."
Consumers across the country, including in North Carolina, have received phishing e-mails that claim to come from the IRS. The phony e-mails tell people that they have qualified for an economic stimulus refund and can receive their money more quickly by providing their bank account information.
The phishing e-mails include a link to a Web site where people are asked to provide their bank account and other personal information, supposedly so their economic stimulus refund can be deposited directly into their account. The fake e-mails even tell people that their refund will be delayed if they don't provide this information.
The IRS does not request taxpayers' personal information by e-mail, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is also warning people about the fraudulent emails.
Cooper's office offers the following tips about phishing.
-- Beware of e-mails that ask for your personal information such as your Social Security Number or bank account number. Don't reply to the e-mail or click on any link. Legitimate companies will not ask you for this information by e-mail.
-- Don't be fooled by real-looking logos or Web sites. Many phishing e-mails use the logo of a real company and a link to what looks like the company's actual Web site. Past phishing e-mails have claimed to come from major companies such as AOL, Earthlink, Paypal, eBay, banks and credit card companies.
-- Report phishing e-mails to the real business or organization that the scammer pretends to be. Contact the company using a telephone number or Web address you know to be right, not using the contact information in the phishing e-mail. Also, forward the entire e-mail to the Federal Trade Commission at email@example.com.
-- Never share personal financial information by email even with someone you know and trust. E-mail can be vulnerable to hackers. If you need to share information with a legitimate company, use a secure Web site. Look for a lock icon on the Web site and a Web address that starts with "https."
-- Use antivirus and firewall software on your computer. Don't open any attachments or download files from e-mails from people you don't know.
-- Protect yourself quickly if you respond to a phishing e-mail. Contact your bank and credit card company immediately.
More like this story