Flagging a possible scam
Thread poster: Gianluigi Desogus, PhD

Gianluigi Desogus, PhD  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 21:18
English to Italian
+ ...
Sep 25

Hello everyone,

I've just received the following e-mail (with an attachment named new-2017-W8BEN.pdf which I did not open), that looks suspiciously like a scam.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Dear Beneficial Owner,

The United States Internal Revenue Service, discovered that you are a non resident alien but international withholding agents have been deducting 13% on interests paid into your foreign financial account. To this end, the United States Internal Revenue Service, wish to inform that a total amount of $6.850 (Six Thousand, Eight Hundred and Fifty United States Dollar) was deducted from interest paid into your offshore financial account. You are hereby advised to update your exemption status to enable us instruct international withholding agents to discontinue further deduction on your foreign financial account by filing form W-8BEN, and return to us as soon as possible.

If you do not provide the information on the attached form which is needed to rectify your status after this notice, we shall consider you as a United States resident alien, this will continue to subject all your foreign financial transactions to USA tax reporting and back up withholding and we will continue to withhold 30% of any interest paid to
you.

Please find the attached formula, fill it with the information of your financial account and include a photocopy of your international passport information page to enable us process your status and effect your refund. Return the filled formula and a photocopy of your identification.

We appreciate your co-operation in helping us update our records. Please do not ignore this message.

Sincerely,

Samantha Brown
For Department of Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
+1-866-297-6291

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The sender is supposedly someone from the US IRS.
Has anyone received similar e-mails?

Thanks for your input!


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:18
German to English
Scam Sep 25

Apart from the unlikelihood of ever receiving something like this from the Internal Revenue Service, no native speaker, not even a semi-literate government employee, would make any of the linguistic errors found in your message.

You might look at the full headers of the e-mail to determine the possible origin of the message.


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Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 23:18
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

MODERATOR
Hi Gianluigi Sep 25

Have you received this through ProZ.com?
If yes, please urgently submit a support request providing all necessary info.

You may also provide here the IP of the sender.

Thanks,
Natalia


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Yolanda Broad  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:18
Member (2000)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Don't open that attachment! Sep 25

A quick word of warning to anyone receiving that message: don't open that attachment. It no doubt includes some kind of malware.

[Edited at 2017-09-25 16:32 GMT]


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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 06:18
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Not even worth the "s" on "suspicion" Sep 25

Literally five letters into this is all you need to tell that it's a scam.

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Luximar Arenas Petty  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:18
English to Spanish
+ ...
Scam for sure Sep 25

Here a link that could shed some light.

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Gianluigi Desogus, PhD  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 21:18
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not through Proz Sep 25

Natalie wrote:

Have you received this through ProZ.com?
If yes, please urgently submit a support request providing all necessary info.

You may also provide here the IP of the sender.

Thanks,
Natalia


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Gianluigi Desogus, PhD  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 21:18
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Very helpful Sep 25

Thanks for the link, I've forwarded the message to the anti-phishing dept of the US IRS

Luximar Arenas Petty wrote:

Here a link that could shed some light.


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Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:18
Serbian to English
+ ...
most likely a data fishing scam Sep 26

the only part that is for sure real if the name of the attached PDF file (it might be a replica of the real file or not - something else masquerading as .pdf)

the real fw8ben.pdf file - perfectly legitimate - can be found at https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw8ben.pdf
and it's a "Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting (Individuals)"

If you had clients based in US there is a tiny tiny possibility that it's legitimate - or it would make the scam simply more credible.

Check the origin of the email and/or simply call the number, or even better find the official email for "Department of Treasury / Internal Revenue Service" and forward them the email - they might be interested and capable of getting hold of these characters for a friendly chat ...


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:18
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Two seconds Sep 26

Addressed generically when such a matter should bear your full name, added to attractive money being paid out by someone who has no need to pay out anything (IRS, a customer without a completed job, a government official, the spouse of a deceased prominent person...). What else do we need? It took me two seconds to know that it was cam.

Remember: If it is too good to be true... then it is not true! Do not open it up, not even out of curiosity, delete and forget.


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Gianluigi Desogus, PhD  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 21:18
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
same here Sep 26

I sniffed it out straight away too, I just wanted it to report to the wider Proz audience.
And that bore fruit as thanks to the discussion here I've forwarded it to the anti-phishing dept of the US IRS.

I reassure you that the thought of opening the attachment didn't cross my mind, not even for a split second...

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT wrote:

Addressed generically when such a matter should bear your full name, added to attractive money being paid out by someone who has no need to pay out anything (IRS, a customer without a completed job, a government official, the spouse of a deceased prominent person...). What else do we need? It took me two seconds to know that it was cam.

Remember: If it is too good to be true... then it is not true! Do not open it up, not even out of curiosity, delete and forget.


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