Only a fool. And I am not that type of fool.
I got an e-mail yesterday from the IRS. It read as follows:
Subject: Changes 2010 Refund Agreement - please read
Date: Tuesday, April 20, 2010, 4:14 PM
NOTICE OF CHANGES TO THE REFUND AGREEMENT
After the last annual calculation of your fiscal activity we have determined that
you are eligible to receive a of $464.79
Please submit the tax refund form "731948115.PDF" attached this message,
and allow us 5-9 business days in order to process it.
Internal Revenue Service
At first, I assumed it was a scam. I mean, Dear Applicant? They know my name! Do they have my e-mail address? Well, yes, since I e-filed, they do. It's gotta be a scam. But if it isn't, I could really use $464.
I went to the IRS website. The IRS website is IRS.gov. This e-mail came from "IRS.gov".
Could it be real?
I started mentally shopping and spending my $464 as I sat and though about it. I have really good anti-spyware stuff on my computer (thanks to my wonderful brother, Jeff, who hooked me up after I crashed my computer last summer in what he described as "the absolute most infected computer ever, with the exception of computers in labs where they try to get as many infections as possible. And even then it was close.")
I wonder what the PDF looked like, and what they asked for.
I mean, it did come from IRS.gov.
Jeff, look away. You are not going to want to see this.
I clicked on it.
Almost immediately, a warning came up that the attachment was infected with a virus. I moved it to the virus vault and did a computer scan, and both felt like an idiot for falling for it and bummed that I will not be able to get the kids some cute Crocs quite yet.
Back to the IRS website I went, and found the part where you can report a scam. I forwarded the e-mail on, and deleted it.
And I felt like a fool.
Seriously, scammers are getting good. I don't know how they managed to send me an e-mail directly form IRS.gov, but they did. I would never have fallen for it if I was getting, say, $10,000, but $464 was reasonable. I cannot believe how easy it was to believe.
And I'm still bummed that I don't get the $464.