The pitch: The Internal Revenue Service wants to see you in court!
The scam: A recent round of e-mails carrying the official seal of the U.S. Tax Court was received by many, judging from the high volume of calls received by the court in Washington. Using the subject line "US Tax Petition," it said the commissioner of Internal Revenue was suing the recipient (named in the document) for a "deficiency" in taxes. The e-mail included a docket number and a hyperlink to click for more information.
The reality: The court posted a warning on its home page saying the e-mail was a "spoofing attempt" using a "ustaxcourt.org" address to make it look real. The court asked recipients to "ignore/delete the e-mail and do not click any link within the e-mail message."
More IRS scams: Another IRS-themed scam hitting e-mail boxes recently urged recipients to use a "direct deposit" link to rush economic stimulus refunds directly into bank accounts. The link asked for personal financial information that could be used for identity theft or to drain bank accounts.
Advice: The IRS says it never sends out unsolicited e-mail messages. See www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=178061,00.html.
-- David Colker