Andrew Eristoff, commissioner of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, received an email on his government computer recently. It was a phishing email, telling him that the IRS needed his personal information in order to process his tax refund. CNN reports:
"It's a reflection of how brazen these crooks have become," Eristoff said."Here they are targeting a tax administrator with a tax refund scam. Unbelievable," he said.
How bad is tax season phishing? "Last year we got wind of seven different kinds of schemes. That was in all of 2005. This year we've already seen 65," said IRS Commissioner Mark Everson.
"We do not communicate with taxpayers by e-mail so no one should respond to an e-mail purporting to be from the IRS," Everson said.
And what does the phishing danger say about the security of taxpayers' data?
"Over 50 percent of returns are now filed electronically," Everson said. "That is safe, that is secure. We look at the further use of technology, but right now, all I can say is we do not reach out and communicate with taxpayers by e-mail."