That e-mail from the IRS? It’s not from the IRS... so says local reporter Herb Weisbaum, an MSNBC contributor, on MSNBC (and the IRS warns taxpayers of the scams in a press release here)....

"The Internal Revenue Service is trying to be more customer-friendly, but it’s not going to pay you for your feedback. The latest phishing scam starts with an e-mail masquerading as a request from the IRS to take an online customer satisfaction survey.

"Like all phishing schemes, this one is designed to steal your personal information. In this case, the bad guys are after your credit card number.

"Click the link embedded in the e-mail and you’ll wind up at a bogus website that asks you to rate the IRS — on everything from courtesy and friendliness to speed of service — and supply your contact information.

"Hit the submit button and you’ll land on a page that asks for your credit card information. The $80 “reward” for taking the survey will supposedly be credited to your account within the next 3 business days."

As they say, just because the logo looks right doesn't mean the site is all it reports to be.

Protect yourself: there's good information out there on how to recognize legitimate websites, particularly the site on the Microsoft Secutity Site page on Recognizing Spoofed Websites & Phishing Scams, with this tidbit on how to verify a site certificate...

Always verify the security certificate issued to a site before submitting any personal information. Before you submit any personal information, ensure that you are indeed on the website you intend to be on.

In Internet Explorer, you can do this by checking the yellow lock icon on the status bar.

This symbol signifies that the website uses encryption to help protect any sensitive personal information—credit card number, Social Security number, payment details—that you enter.

Screen shot of yellow lock icon in Internet Explorer

Secure site lock icon. If the lock is closed, then the site uses encryption. Double-click the lock icon to display the security certificate for the site. This certificate is proof of the identity for the site.

More info...

 

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