Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg: Crooks use tax season as a license to phish

St. Petersburg

Crooks use

tax season as a license to phish

Last week, city auditor Brad Scott cautioned city employees about an official-looking e-mail circulating in the city.

It is seemingly from the Internal Revenue Service and asks that recipients complete a form to process their tax refund. Recipients are told to include personal information, including Social Security and credit card numbers.

This is a classic form of identity theft known as "phishing." It often occurs this time of year when people are expecting their tax refunds. But the "phishers" have picked up the pace this year, knowing that people are expecting an extra refund designed to help stimulate the nation's economy.

Phishing scams are favorites of identity thieves. Sometimes they pose as the IRS, other times as a financial institution. They send official-looking

e-mails to unsuspecting people, hoping to trick them into revealing personal information that can then be used to steal money from their accounts, run up charges on credit cards or apply for loans in the victim's name.

The IRS and all reputable financial institutions never use e-mail to initiate contact with people, so view these e-mails with suspicion. If you want to verify the authenticity of a contact from the IRS, or check on the status of your refund, call toll-free 1-800-829-1040.

We investigate several phishing cases every week, but it appears most people report these scams to their banks and fail to notify police. If you are a victim of this or any other scheme to defraud, please report it to us by calling our nonemergency number at (727) 893-7780.

William Proffitt, St. Petersburg police spokesman

St. Petersburg: Crooks use tax season as a license to phish 03/22/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:45am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing another old friend in Jeremy Hellickson


    The Rays take on the Orioles again tonight and will face another old friend for the first time, as RHP Jeremy Hellickson will take the mound for the home team.

    Hellickson was drafted by the Rays in 2005 and pitched for them from 2010-14, then was traded to Arizona. He has since bounced to the Phillies and …

  2. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  3. Charles Bradley, acclaimed Florida soul singer, dies at 68


    Acclaimed Florida R&B powerhouse Charles Bradley, whose raw, pained voice earned him the nickname the Screaming Eagle of Soul, has died of cancer at 68, his representatives announced Saturday.

    Charles Bradley performed at the 2016 Gasparilla Music Festival.
  4. Kriseman and Baker cash race continues as campaigns officially reset


    The mayoral campaign, mostly operating in stealth mode during the two weeks of Hurricane Irma's build-up, arrival and recovery, has entered its stretch run, a compressed schedule of ten days before ballots are mailed to tens of thousands of voters in the Sunshine City.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker are emerging from Hurricane Irma mode and getting back into campaign form
  5. Bucs have chance to beat Vikings in their third stadium


    Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.

    TIMES ARCHIVES (2012) | Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.