Call it the IRS version of Crime Stoppers. You know, the program in almost every community where law enforcement solicits the public's help in nabbing bad guys.
Now the federal tax collector wants to hear from people who've received fake IRS e-mails purporting to send you a refund in exchange for a little bit of your personal financial information. I got one just this last weekend. If you've been lucky enough to avoid this garbage, you can see what it looks like here.
The IRS has set up firstname.lastname@example.org, a special e-mail box, and wants
recipients of these bogus refund offers to forward the suspicious
e-mails to that address.
By getting a look at these actual communications, complete with Internet headers, the agency's technical and criminal personnel hope to be able to track down, and take down, the senders.
If you're not sure how to forward the e-mail, the IRS has instructions
for various mail systems here.
The agency also notes that you can report misuse of the IRS name, logo,
forms or other IRS property to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax
Administration toll-free at 1-800-366-4484.
And you might also want to forward any suspicious e-mails to the
Federal Trade Commission at email@example.com or contact that office online
at www.consumer.gov/idtheft or by phone at 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).
Just be sure that as you're passing the e-mail along, don't
inadvertently open any links or attachments since they likely contain
malicious code that will infect your computer.
And while the IRS isn't offering any monetary rewards like local tip hotlines usually provide, when the feds finally do catch up to these despicable con artists you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that you helped give these creeps exactly what they deserve.