With over $2 trillion in annual collections, the Internal Revenue Service brings in a lot of money.
By masquerading as that federal agency, scammers are trying to pocket some of the money for themselves.
Curt Penwell, a certified public accountant in Warren, said on Wednesday that some of his clients throughout the county have received fraudulent emails claiming to be from the IRS.
"In general, I don't see fraud very often," Penwell said. "I've seen scams out there from faxes, but I know just to trash them."
After contacting the fraud department at the IRS, Penwell said he found the latest emails are not legitimate. One which was sent out to people says the federal tax transactions from their checking accounts were canceled by their financial institutions.
It then asks the email recipients to go into attached documents. Fearing a computer virus or phishing scheme may be lurking there, Penwell said he didn't open them.
To see if others were being targeted, Penwell asked Kersey and Associates if they were seeing the same fraud. He said they confirmed their clients have also received such emails.
Clients of Penwell's from Sugar Grove to Russell and Warren have received the emails. Beyond that area, he's not sure who all has been targeted.
An IRS logo on the emails has fooled recipients into believing their credibility, he said, adding that approximately a dozen clients have called over the last two weeks asking if they were real.
Within the IRS logo, an eagle holding scales faces a wheat staff. A physical address for the IRS is included in the emails which seems to correlate with an actual regional office for the agency in Landover, Md.
Originally, Penwell said only his business clients were receiving the emails. More recently, an individual was targeted.
So far, Penwell said, he is not aware of anybody who lost money through the scam. However, one person who clicked on a link within the email received an error message which may have been related to a virus.
"Generally, if you get email claiming to be from the IRS it is probably 99 percent of the time fraud," Penwell said. "They normally do not contact people through email."
On a limited basis, Penwell said the IRS is starting to contact people that way. However, it's generally businesses that have signed up for such contact.