E-mail scam threatens taxpayers

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently alerted taxpayers about an e-mail scam intended to make e-mail recipients believe they are under investigation by the IRS's Criminal Investigation division. The scam appears to be aimed at small-business owners as well as individual taxpayers.

The e-mail falsely states that recipients are under criminal investigation for submitting false tax returns to the California Franchise Board and instructs recipients to click on a link or open an attachment for more information. The link or attachment is actually a Trojan Horse virus that can take over a recipient's computer's hard drive and allow the sender remote access to the computer.

The IRS never sends unsolicited e-mails or asks for detailed personal or financial information, personal identification numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts.