It’s tax season and id theives and crooks use this season,  just as they do winter, summer, spring, and fall, to scam consumers out of money and personal information.  Here’s an email I recently received from “”.

After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $129.72. Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 3-9 days in order to process it. A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons. For example submitting invalid records or applying after the deadline.

To access your tax refund, please click here.

Best Regards,
Tax Refund Deparment
Internal Revenue Service
© Copyright 2008, Internal Revenue Service U.S.A. All rights reserved.

This message contained all sorts of red flags.  Most noticable, hovering over the link, you can see that it points to a URL that clearly does not belong to the IRS.

I clicked the link, just to see where it led.  The page does strongly resemble the IRS’ “Where My Refund?” page, down to the scam warning “IRS never initiates emails.”  (Ironic, since I arrived at the page by clicking on a email that was supposed to have been initiated by the IRS.)

Don’t click on links in emails that say they’re from the IRS.  If you have questions about your tax refund, consult your tax preparer or visit the IRS website directly –  Enter “where’s my refund” in the search box to be taken to an explanation about how to find your refund.

Keep your personal information safe.  Look for the security lock in the bottom right corner of your web page before entering any information into a website.  If you don’t see the lock, don’t enter your information.

See the IRS guidelines on protecting yourself from email scams.