The IRS is not the only institution scam artists cite in attempts to trick people into giving out personal information. I received this email in the WISER inbox this morning, supposedly from Bank of America Military Bank:
"The tax agency said the bogus e-mails appear to be a "phishing scheme" that tries to trick recipients into revealing personal and financial information that can be used to steal a person's assets.
The IRS said it does not send e-mails soliciting charitable donations and never asks people for the PIN numbers, passwords or other secret information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts.
People "should avoid opening any attachments or clicking on any links until they can verify the e-mail's legitimacy," IRS Deputy Commissioner for Operations Support Richard Spires said in a statement.
The agency said the scam e-mail urges recipients to click on a link which opens on a fake IRS Web site. That site includes a link to a donation form which requests the recipient's personal and financial information."
Dear Bank of America Military Bank customer,
We regret to inform you that we have received numerous fraudulent e-mails which ask for personal information. Please remember that we will never ask for personal information through e-mail or websites.
Because of this we are launching a new security system to make Bank of the Cascades cards more secure and safe. To take advantage of our new consumer Identity Theft Protection Program we had to deactivate all Debit/ATM cards.
To reactivate your card please call (800) 609-0579 and follow the steps.
Reactivation is free of charge and will take place as soon as you finish the process.
It almost sounds believable. Ironically, email scams such as these prey upon consumers' fears of identity theft in order to steal their identities. Bank of America Military Bank is a legitimate branch of Bank of America, which makes actual members of this bank more susceptible to the scam. WISER is not a member, so it was easy for me to disregard the message as a scam.
Seniors are particularly vulnerable to financial fraud and abuse. For more information on how to protect yourself and those you love, download WISER's Spring 2007 Newsletter, featuring the article "Sweetheart or Sweetheart Scam?"
Have you been a victim of identity theft? Tell us your story: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line, Identity Theft.