The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, along with the Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection, today reminded taxpayers they must remain vigilant throughout the year to guard against fraud, identity theft, and tax scams.
Con artists don’t take a break for the summer; they continually target sensitive personal data and account information.
“Scammers prey upon honest taxpayers in every season,” said Acting Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Nonie Manion. “This means we must all keep in mind common scam tactics, stay informed as new ones emerge to thwart the defenses in place, and report suspicious activity to the proper agency.”
New York State Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “Scammers do not take a break and New Yorkers need to be vigilant to protect their private data to avoid losing time and money. We recommend consumers consistently monitor their information and take a few simple steps to protect themselves from unscrupulous scam artists this summer and all year around.”
Be aware of common scam tactics
Threatening calls—Scammers who use this tactic try to bully or trick victims into turning over private information, or convince them to wire money to pay a tax debt or fine. If a caller, perhaps posing as a NYS Tax Department or IRS agent, threatens an arrest or fines, it’s a scam. If you receive a phone call or email from someone about your tax return, a refund, or a possible debt you may owe, and aren’t sure if it’s legitimate, call the Tax Department to verify it. The Tax Department and the IRS will never make threats over the phone and will never request personal or financial information by email.
Unusual emails—Phishing emails often contain links that can activate malware or lead to phony websites that request personal information. Misspellings or unfamiliar logos in the email or subject line are obvious clues that it’s a scam attempt. To be safe, simply delete these emails and any that are unsolicited, and never click the links within them. Hovering over the links, however, may reveal an unusual webpage address (URL) that confirms the sender’s true intent. Remember, the Tax Department never requests personal or financial information by email.
Offer to collect payment in person—If a caller claiming to be from the Tax Department offers to meet you at a specific location for payment, you’re being scammed. This is never an option with the Tax Department. Hang up immediately.
Request for a specific type of payment—If you’re being told to pay through a prepaid debit card or an iTunes gift card, this is a tell-tale sign of a scam. The Tax Department provides various payment options, but the use of gift cards isn’t one of them. If you’re only given one specific way to make a payment, it’s a scam.
If contacted by a scammer posing as an IRS agent, contact the IRS. Learn more at the IRS webpage Tax Scams: How to Report them.
If you’re contacted by a con artist claiming to be from the New York State Tax Department, visit the Tax Department’s Report fraud, scams, and identity theft webpage.
If you suspect a return preparer filed or altered a return without your consent, report it to the NYS Office of Taxpayer Rights Advocate at (518) 530-HELP (option #2) or file a tax preparer complaint online.
Source: The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance