Texas Tech issues warning about IRS email scams - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Texas Tech issues warning about IRS email scams

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From Texas Tech University:

Past experience demonstrates that many Internet criminals will take advantage of the upcoming Federal tax deadline to try and steal your personal, sensitive and confidential information. The Texas Tech University Office of the CIO urges you to be aware and use caution with any communication that uses the IRS name, logo, or website, and requests confidential information from you.  According to the IRS website (www.irs.gov) the "IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels."

One of the most common tax scams informs the recipient that he or she is eligible to receive a tax refund for a given amount. The email instructs the recipient to click on a link provided to enter personal and financial information in order to receive the refund. Also be cautious of emails that might look like they are sent from an online tax preparation service. Some of these email scams look seemingly legitimate and therefore, hard to distinguish as a scam. Don't respond to these solicitations or click on any links contained in the message - simply delete the message.Warning signs that an email is an attempt to steal your identity:

  • Requests personal and/or financial information; such as name, SSN, bank/credit card account numbers;
  • Requests security-related information, such as mother's maiden name, password, or PIN; 
  • Offers a special tax refund program available by email; 
  • Invites you to participate in an IRS survey and receive a stipend or discount on taxes owed; 
  • Threatens a consequence - additional taxes or frozen tax refunds -  for not responding to the email; 
  • Misspells "Internal Revenue Service" or tax preparation service name in the email text or link supplied; and/or 

References an IRS link that does not contain http://www.irs.gov - to see the actual link address, place your mouse over the link text without clicking.

If you receive a suspicious email claiming to come from the IRS, take the following steps:

  • Do not reply to the email;
  • Do not open any attachments to the email or click on any links;
  • Contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to determine whether the IRS is trying to contact you; 
  • Forward the suspicious email to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov; and
  • Delete the message once you have reported it.

We encourage you to be vigilant in practicing safe computing practices. For additional safe computing tips and information, and a list of area IT Professionals, please visit www.safecomputing.ttu.edu and click on "Lubbock Community."

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