Alert: tax man wants to give you money? Stop before you click yes!

BERN, SWITZERLAND – Taxpayers who cheer when they receive an email from the tax office saying a refund is due should just NOT OPEN attached documents. Fake e-mails have been sent in the past week in the name of the Swiss Federal Tax Administration, as well as in the name of the IRS, the US tax branch. They tell the recipient he or she has a refund coming.

The person is then asked to send details of bank accounts or credit cards, or in some cases a copy of a passport, in order to facilitate the refund. The logos of the tax departments appear on the documents, which have legitimate-looking forms to fill out.

Both tax offices work only by letter, not by e-mail and never ask for confidential information via e-mail, to avoid phishing, or Internet scams.

Melani, Switzerland’s internet safety office, recommends strongly that you not open any attachments.

The IRS maintains a list of scams and notes that these are used as part of identity theft.