Mary turned on her computer as she generally did at the end of the day and found an e-mail message from the Internal Revenue Service under the subject tax refund. Mary clicked on it and found that it stated that she would be eligible to receive a tax refund of $580. Mary was requested to submit the tax refund request and allow six to nine days in order to process it. She was also told that a refund may be delayed for a variety of reasons such as submitting invalid records or applying after the deadline. To access the form that she was to fill out, she was simply advised to click on an emblem representing the IRS.
When Mary clicked on the emblem, a questionnaire came up asking for her Social Security number, her credit card number so her income tax refund could be credited to her credit card, and other personal information. Mary was excited so she filled out the information and forwarded it to what she thought was the IRS website.
After almost a month, Mary did not receive her tax refund and numerous unauthorized charges showed up on her next credit card statement. Unfortunately for Mary, she was a victim of a phishing website. Mary had become a victim of what is the fastest growing crime in the country, identity theft.
Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive. Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column.