This is yet another scam that endeavors to fool people into giving out personal information, putting themselves at risk for identity theft and losing control of their bank account information. In this instance, victims receive a letter supposedly from their bank, printed on bank stationary, asking for information for the purpose of reporting earnings to the IRS. Enclosed would also be a fake IRS form, called a W-9095, which was designed to look like a valid IRS form, the W-9. Therefore, even those familiar with IRS forms could easily mistake it as being legitimate.

This form would ask the recipient to provide such information as social security number, mother's maiden name, passport number, bank account numbers and PIN numbers. There would also be instructions to return the completed form by fax within 7 days or the government would withold 31% of interest on his/her bank account. This kind of "rushed deadline" is a common trick used by scammers. The feeling that we need to hurry often blinds our judgement and causes us to fall for things we typically would not.

The REAL IRS form, the W-9, does not ask for account numbers. The phony form has also been seen under other names such as W-88BEN, W-8888.

This is a highly effective scam because it looks very genuine on the surface, and because it seems to be coming from very trusted sources - your bank, and the IRS. To avoid falling victim to this and other such scams, it is best to call your bank to ask about any suspicious mail you receive that is supposedly from them. That is, any piece of mail asking for your personal information. Spending a few minutes making that phone call could save you a lot of trouble in the end.

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