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600 E. Boulevard Ave.
  Bismarck, ND 58505-0599
  701.328.7088 phone
  701.328.3700 fax
  877.328.7088 toll-free
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Cory Fong, Tax Commissioner, 701-328-2770
Friday, July 28, 2006  

FONG WARNS TAXPAYERS OF NEW PHISHING SCAM

BISMARCK, N.D. – State Tax Commissioner Cory Fong warned taxpayers today that a new online “phishing” scam is circulating.

“Taxpayers should be on the lookout for this latest ploy,” said Commissioner Fong. “Neither the IRS nor the State Tax Department send unsolicited emails to taxpayers asking for personal information.”

The latest scam trolls for victims through an email designed to look like official Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) as a way to lure taxpayers into revealing personal information.

“Phishing” (pronounced “fishing”) is a term that refers to the on-line imitation of a company’s logo in a bogus email message or web site created with the intent of tricking unsuspecting users into divulging personal and financial information (such as Social Security Numbers, bank account information, credit card numbers, etc.). Generally, the email includes a link that leads to a look-alike site set up to steal the recipients’ identify.

“Thieves are baiting people with messages that look like they are from official agencies because that grabs people’s attention,” said Fong, “Because so many people deal with the IRS, a forged IRS notice has the potential to net a much larger pool of victims.”

The new scam is designed to look like a page from the IRS web site (www.irs.gov) and claims to be from the “IRS Antifraud Comission” [sic]. The message contains many grammatical and spelling errors and states that someone has attempted to enroll the recipient’s credit card in the EFTPS in order to pay taxes. The email tells the recipient that “some of your money were lost and your remaining founds were blocked” [sic]. The message then directs the addressee to click on a link to help them recover their money. That link takes the recipient to a web page requesting personal information that thieves could use to steal the taxpayer’s identity.

Fong said, “This is the first time that thieves have used the IRS electronic payment system as bait.” Prior scams claiming to be from the IRS lured unsuspecting recipients by claiming they were eligible to receive a tax refund for a given amount.

Fong urges taxpayers to forward suspicious emails to the IRS by sending it to a special email address: phishing@irs.gov. For information about scams impersonating the IRS, visit the IRS web site at www.irs.gov or call the IRS at 1-800-366-4484.

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