23. December 2020 | | 0 Comments

IRS spam in circulation (fake form “W-8BEN”) [2020-12-23] Phishing to steal financial and passport data

This phishing campaign is aimed at people who have or had income in the USA and therefore have to report income to the US tax authority IRS according to US law (“non-resident aliens”).

Do not open these mails!

The US tax authority IRS (Internal Revenue Service) informs about this on its pages as follows:


The Form W-8BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding PDF is a legitimate U.S. tax exemption document.

However, fraudsters typically target non-residents of the U.S. and use the W-8BEN format to acquire personal details such as,

  • mother’s maiden name,
  • passport number,
  • PIN numbers and passcodes.

The legitimate IRS Form W-8BEN, does not ask for any of that information.

IRS requests to forward the mail to a special e-mail address and then delete it.

What do I do if I receive such a scam form via email, fax, mail, or other format?

  1. Do not reply.
  2. Do not open any attachments.Attachments may contain malicious code that will infect your computer.
  3. Do not click on any links.If you clicked on links in a suspicious email or phishing website and entered confidential information, visit our identity protection page.
  4. Forward the email as-is, to us at phishing@irs.gov.
  5. After you forward the email and/or header information to us, delete the original email message you received.


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