According to this email, which purports to be from the IRS, there has been a problem calculating your tax return and with your filed Social Security Number (SSN). The message claims that the IRS has reviewed your tax information and, because it has ‘verified the possibility of identity theft’, your account has been locked.
Supposedly, the SSN listed on your return belongs to a deceased person. The email advises you to click a link to supply your correct information or risk tax penalties. It includes the IRS logo.
However, the email is certainly not from the IRS. In fact, it is a phishing scam designed to trick you into divulging your personal and financial information to cybercriminals.
If you click the link, you will be taken to a fraudulent website hosted in eastern Europe. Forms on the fake website ask you to supply your SSN, as well as your name and contact details and other identifying information. The forms also ask you to supply credit card and banking details, ostensibly to allow your refund to be payed to you.
If you fall for the ruse and submit the requested information, the criminals may then be able to steal your identity and commit financial fraud in your name. The IRS warns people about these phishing scams on its website, noting:
The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. This includes requests for PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.
Tax refund related scams are very common and target taxpayers in a number of countries. The following Hoax-Slayer YouTube video provides more information about such scams.
Subject: Problem Calculating Your Return
Problem with filed SSN
We reviewed your tax information and have verified the possibility of identity theft. We have placed an identity theft indicator on your account.
You received CP 01H notice because we were unable to process your tax return. The IRS has locked your account because the Social Security Administration informed us that the Social Security number (SSN) of the primary or secondary taxpayer on the return belongs to someone who was deceased prior to the current tax year (before January 1, 2015 for a 2015 tax return).
You are required to supply your correct information to avoid any Tax Penalty.
To get started go here now >>
We previously sent you a CP63 notice informing you we are holding your refund until we receive one or more unfiled tax returns. Because we received no reply to our previous notice, we have calculated your tax, penalty and interest based on wages and other income reported to us by employers, financial institutions and others.
Internal Revenue Service
Last updated: January 8, 2016
First published: January 8, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen