March 1, 2012 Crime Alert
Income Tax Filing “Phishing” Attacks
The Upper Merion Township Police Department has received information that law enforcement agencies have been reporting an increase in attempted e-mail phishing attacks with respect to income tax filing deadlines. The objective of these types of attacks is to lure people to click on links or an attachment within the body of an e-mail, leading that person to execute a malicious computer code on their computer. Listed below are preventive strategies to minimize the chance of an attack being successful.
- The sender of an e-mail or initiator of the phone call is your first indication as to whether an e-mail or phone call is legitimate. Be cognizant of how you file, whether electronically or via e-mail and whether through a third party tax service or the IRS directly. If being contacted by phone, ask for that person’s name and call back number.
- If you file a paper copy but receive an e-mail notification, there is a good chance the received e-mail is malicious. The IRS and third party providers typically do not send e-mail notifications, especially to taxpayers filing a paper return. If you file a paper return yet receive an e-mail notification, contact the IRS or whoever prepared your taxes directly.
- If you file your taxes online, but receive e-mails from other third parties stating that you are eligible for a larger return, or there was an error on your return, treat these e-mails as suspicious and do not open them. Notify the IRS and your tax filing service provider about the e-mail.
- Do not click on links in e-mails or open any attachments. Typically notifications from the IRS come via postal service. The IRS will not initiate contact with taxpayers by e-mail to request personal or financial information. If there is any doubt contact the IRS or your tax provider directly prior to opening any attachments.
- Do not give out any personal information over the phone or in an e-mail without confirming the other party’s identity. Ask for a name and callback number and verify the authenticity of the phone call.
- If you have any questions regarding electronic filing, please contact the IRS directly at: http://www.irs.gov
- Suspicious e-mails claiming to be from the IRS can be sent to:
If you have further questions please contact Officer Harry M. Nuskey at