With tax day quickly approaching, New Yorkers should be on high alert to avoid tax scams, warns state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.
Such cons his office receives complaints about include scammers impersonating Treasury Department, IRS and other government officials or using falsified logos and phone numbers to try to collect fake tax debts or threaten residents with lawsuits or deportation.
While debt collectors may call consumers to collect tax debts on behalf of the IRS for the first time this year, “the IRS will never do so without first sending the consumer a letter notifying the consumer that they will do so, and providing the consumer with information to help them determine that a call is legitimate,” a statement from Schneiderman said.
Should a New York resident receive a call without first receiving the letter, they “should refuse to speak to the caller except to demand that another copy of the letter be sent.”
Consumers should also be wary of fake officials requesting payment via a prepaid credit card or gift card, which impersonators ask for because they are often hard to trace. The IRS and other government agencies will not demand such payments or ask for debit or credit card numbers via phone.
Taxpayers should also watch out for tax preparation businesses that advertise low fees, but jack the price up by hundreds of dollars during preparation. AG Schneiderman urges residents to use established and recognized tax prep companies or check their qualifications and history through the Better Business Bureau.
If you suspect that a collection call is not legit, you should call the IRS directly at 800-366-4484. New Yorkers can report potential tax fraud scams via forms.ag.ny.gov or by calling 800-771-7755.