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Qualified Intermediary Identity Theft Alert

The IRS is warning non-resident aliens and financial institutions servicing non-resident’s monetary accounts of an identity-theft scam using a bogus IRS letter and Form W-8BEN .   The phony letter and form ask for non-residents to provide  personal  information such as account numbers, PINS, mother’s maiden name, and passport number.  The legitimate IRS  Form W-8BEN used by financial institutions to establish appropriate tax withholding for foreign individuals does  NOT ask for any of these items.  To view the correct, original Form W-8BEN, go to http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw8ben.pdf

The IRS has advised financial institutions to alert  their overseas branches and divisions so they may  warn their customers.  Those unfamiliar with tax laws may mistakenly believe the IRS would ask for and be entitled to this extremely personal information. 

Individuals or financial firms with questions should contact Thomas Chillemi, Qualified Intermediary Program Manager at (212) 298-2101.

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 13-Dec-2013