The following is a copy of an email I found in my Junk EMail. I always go through it in case there’s an old friend or something that I might actually want to see. Usually it’s a necessary waste of time. But I thought you might like to see this.
Notice that the return address seems to go right where it ought to go: irs dot gov. If you type that into your address bar you will go to the US Internal Revenue website. But right after that is where the 1st tip-off is found. See all that “Add to Address Book” stuff? Trust me, the government could care less whether they are in my address book. And they certainly don’t want to be in my phone…or do they?
Looking at the subject line, we find that there is a “Tax Refund” on my VISA or my MasterCard. Hmm, they don’t know which one? That is clue #2. Come along and I think in the end we’ll have a bit of a giggle:
From: “Internal Revenue Service” <firstname.lastname@example.org> Add to Address BookAdd to Address Book Add Mobile Alert
Subject: Notification of Tax Refund on your VISA or MasterCard Now
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 10:48:06 -0500
> Notification of Tax Refund on your VISA or MasterCard Now,
> After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have
determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $329.30.
Hey, cool! I could use $329.30 right about now. What perfect timing!
>A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons.
Fox example submitting invalid records or applying after the
Wow, I didn’t submit any invalid records! Sure hope the deadline hasn’t passed… It was nice of them to include that “Foxy” example, just so I would know what to look for…
> Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your
Gee, these are the nicest IRS guys I’ve ever heard of!
> To access the form for your tax refund please copy/paste the link
below in your browser (or click the link below)
Huh? “host217-36-235-101.in-addr.btopenworld.com:84/”? Is the IRS outsourcing their refunds?
> Note: For security reasons, we will record your ip-address, the date
Deliberate wrong inputs are criminally pursued and indicated.
Well, guess these guys aren’t so nice after all! Or very bright, either. I wonder how far they plan to pursue me. And how, exactly, will they indicate me? And for what?
Internal Revenue Service
© Copyright 2007, Internal Revenue Service U.S.A.
I especially like all the seemingly random letters at the end. I guess they were trying to imitate a hash of some sort? Who knows?
Well, we had ourselves a little chuckle here, but the sobering thought is that somewhere, somebody believed this. I can only hope they haven’t lost alot of money over it. We are gullible, people. Maybe not me or you, maybe not this time, but sometime or the other we just choose to believe, regardless. Given just the wrong circumstances, the right motivations, we can be fooled.
Let’s all be careful out there. And in here.
I am Jon, and I am indicated.