Scammers want your IRS refund checks and have devised at least one phishing scheme to get it, according to the FBI.
The e-mail, which purports to be from the IRS advises recipients that the best way to get their economic stimulus rebate money is by direct deposit. It then directs them to a Web site that asks them to enter bank account information and other personal data.
To encourage recipients to respond, the e-mail warns that not filling out the form will mean a delay in receiving the check.
The actual purpose is to steal personal information, the FBI says.
This is not the only news-related scam going around. Phony fund raisers for victims of the Myanmar cyclone may use similar tactics, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
"Various forms of online fraud continue to proliferate on the Internet and people should take the appropriate precautions to protect themselves," said Special Agent Richard J. Kolko, of the FBI national press office.
Text of a sample IRS phishing scam was released by the FBI:
"Over 130 million Americans will receive refunds as part of President Bush's program to jumpstart the economy. Our records indicate that you are qualified to receive the 2008 Economic Stimulus Refund. The fastest and easiest way to receive your refund is by direct deposit to your checking/savings account.
Please follow the link and fill out the form and submit before May 10th, 2008 to ensure that your refund will be processed as soon as possible.
Submitting your form on May 10, 2008 or later means that your refund will be delayed due to the volume of requests we anticipate for the Economic Stimulus Refund.
To access Economic Stimulus refund, please click here."