US tax authority warns of identity thieves

The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has warned taxpayers that internet identity thieves are attempting to steal their personal details.

The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has warned taxpayers that internet identity thieves are attempting to steal their personal details.

The IRS has warned that thousands of phoney IRS e-mails have been sent to internet users as the US 15 April tax filing deadline approaches.

A batch of the rogue e-mails claim to come from irs.gov e-mail addresses, such as tax-refunds@irs.gov or admin@irs.gov.

The messages attempt to guide users to a cloned IRS website which asks users for sensitive financial information.

The IRS said the e-mails first started appearing in January and their circulation rapidly increased last month. The service said such phishing scams were now among the major fraud threats it was trying to tackle.

The phoney websites used to support the scam are all believed to be hosted outside the US. So far, the IRS has tracked such websites hosted in almost 20 different countries.

Internet security company Websense has also monitored a similar scam involving Brazil’s main tax authority.

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