Monday, October 01, 2007

IRS warns of internet scam in Costa Rica

(Tico Times) - The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is warning U.S. taxpayers of an Internet scam that has been popping up in Costa Rica.

The “phishing” scam involves a fraudulent e-mail that pretends to be an IRS request for personal information in order for the user to access a tax refund.

The scam asks for Social Security numbers and credit card information, and could also infect a victim's computer system, according to a statement from the U.S. State Department.

“The IRS warns that care should always be taken when disclosing personal information,” the statement said.

The IRS has busted several such schemes in recent years, like the case in which an e-mail told taxpayers they were being audited and that they could resolve matters by divulging sensitive financial information on an official-looking Web site.

In Costa Rica, the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) has received an influx of Internet banking fraud complaints in the last year, and is now investigating some 150 cases.

If U.S. taxpayers have any doubts about the authenticity of an e-mail, they can call 1-800-829-1040.

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