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March 20, 2011 (San Diego)--The San Diego Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers about a new identity theft scam involving phony e-mails supposedly from the federal government’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The phishing e-mails are requesting personal information from a W-2 form that are prepared by employers.


If more information is needed from a taxpayer, the IRS does not send e-mails, only letters through the U.S. Postal Service, so delete any e-mail supposedly from the IRS, the BBB advised. Other red flags that signal ID theft, the BBB said, include misspelled words in an IRS e-mail, which typically indicates the sender is located in another country.


W-2 forms are submitted by individual taxpayers along with an income tax return, so don’t believe any e-mail that says the forms must be submitted separately at an earlier date. Also, never provide to a stranger over e-mail such personal financial information as your wages, Social Security number, home address and birth date.


The non-profit San Diego BBB, San Diego’s largest county-wide business membership organization, offers consumer protection advice, promotes business ethics through voluntary self regulation and business education, and provides consumers with free pre purchase information, including business review reports on more than 101,000 local companies.  Consumers may phone the BBB's free 24 hour Consumer Helpline at (858) 496 2131 or (800) 600 7050, or visit the website at, to obtain free information and a list of BBB accredited businesses in a particular type of industry.

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