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An increasing amount of complaints have been made regarding emails informing a taxpayer that their federal tax payment is being returned by their financial institution. Although the email domain appears to come from the IRS (''), it's actually a phishing tactic used to lure unsuspecting victims to provide personal and financial information.

While similar scams have been going on for a few years now, an uptick in phishing activity is occurring right now.

First, it's important to note that the IRS will not contact anyone using email. Second, do not click on any link or download attachments in these phony emails. They contain links to scam sites (sometimes disguised as the IRS' website) and also direct recipients to a bogus link for a notification or transaction report that, when clicked, downloads infectious malware to the victim's computer. The perpetrator then captures personal and/or financial information already stored on the taxpayer's computer, or obtained through keystrokes or screen shots, and uses this information to commit identity theft.