The IRS recently warned the public of a phishing scheme targeting military and government employees. For those who aren’t familiar, phishing is the sending of emails claiming to be from legitimate companies in order to convince people to reveal personal information leading to identity theft.
Some individuals have been receiving an email from a .mil address, claiming to be Defence Finance and Accounting Services. The email goes on to say that those who receive money from the VA may be eligible for similar funds from the IRS. The letter also asks you to send VA and IRS documents filled with personal information to an address in Florida.
Sending this information can put the individual’s accounts and credit in jeopardy. Thankfully, someone reported the phishing scheme to the IRS, leading to this announcement.
The IRS and other government agencies will never send unsolicited emails to individuals asking for personal information like a social security number, passwords or PINs.
Signs of Phishing
This scam targeting military personnel really drives home the importance of knowing the signs of phishing and what you can do about it. Some common signs of phishing are:
- Messages full of spelling and grammar mistakes
- A company you aren’t signed up with sends you an email to update account information
- Messages with a time limit saying your account will be closed. These are attempting to catch you off guard so you’ll send personal information without thinking.
- Greetings where you aren’t referred to by name.
Remember that phishing scams aren’t always from strange, unrecognizable addresses. The use of a .mil address and familiar agencies was the reason this scam was so clever and successful.
Knowing the signs of phishing and never sending any personally identifiable information over email or the phone is a key part of keeping your identity safe.
If you receive an email you suspect is fraudulent, don’t hesitate to forward a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org.