With Tax Day a little more than a week away, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is warning New Yorkers to keep an eye out for collection schemes.
This year, the attorney general’s office has received complaints of people who are impersonating IRS officials attempting to collect tax debts over the phone. Schneiderman’s office said these tax scammers have been threatening a lawsuit or arrest if the victim does not turn over personal information, such as a Social Security number or bank account information.
“Unfortunately, there are scammers who will shamelessly take advantage of vulnerable consumers as they try to file their taxes on time,” said Schneiderman in a statement.
Timothy Camus, a deputy Treasury inspector general, said at a March Senate hearing that more than 3,000 peopled have been tricked out of $15.5 million since the widespread scam started in 2013, the AP reported.
Schneiderman’s office said government agencies do not demand payments over the phone, and will not threaten arrest or deportation for debt collection. Consumers who legitimately owe money will receive a written statement in the mail.
The best way to safely file a tax return is using established companies accredited by the Better Business Bureau. Consumers should ask for a written estimate from tax preparers, review a return before signing and never sign a blank return, according to Schneiderman’s office.
Those who suspect tax fraud can call Schneiderman’s office at 1-800-771-7755 or on www.ag.ny.gov.
New Yorkers who makes less than $60,000 a year may qualify for free tax preparation and filing. More information is available at www.tax.ny.gov. New Yorkers who qualify may also go to a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site and have their taxes prepared for free. More information is available at www.irs.gov.