Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Scammy Scammers

I tend to be a bit of a skeptic. I never pictured myself as the type who would fall for an e-mail scam, they are just so out there. I mean, really. Who in their right mind would believe they won a lottery in another country, and all you have to do is provide your most personal info, your firstborn child, and the toejam that collects between the first tow toes on your left foot to claim your prize?

Only a fool. And I am not that type of fool.

Well, maybe.

I got an e-mail yesterday from the IRS. It read as follows:

From: IRS.gov
Subject: Changes 2010 Refund Agreement - please read
To:
Date: Tuesday, April 20, 2010, 4:14 PM

NOTICE OF CHANGES TO THE REFUND AGREEMENT

Dear Applicant:

After the last annual calculation of your fiscal activity we have determined that
you are eligible to receive a tax refund 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.

Yours sincerely,
Internal Revenue Service
United States


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.

Huh.

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.

4 comments:

YankintheUK said...

Tricky, VERY tricky...

DJan said...

That is really scary. Maybe it's time for you go start thinking about putting any downloadable item in the vault first and then running a virus check on it? Did it hurt anything?

The Campbell Family said...

Not that I wouldn't have been curious myself BUT the gov't spent FIFTY-SEVEN million dollars to send everyone a "your census is coming" letter, I'm gonna guess they'd have snail-mailed something like that....

Anonymous said...

Maybe you could send an invoice to the IRS for $464 for helping them find the "newest scam" out there. Hey, it's worth a try..."Dear IRS..... ~Kristen