Watch Out For Tax Scams
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office is warning residents about scammers that could contact you this tax season.
Over the past several weeks, taxpayers, as well as tax preparers, have received calls from scammers claiming to be from the U.S. and New York State Treasury Departments.
Gov. Cuomo urged taxpayers to be cautious for three new tax scams.
1. Scammers posing as NYS or U.S. Treasury representatives – Callers posing as NYS Treasury agents encourage victims to turn over their bank account information along with $250 in return for a larger sum of cash to come at a later date. To make themselves appear more convincing, the scammers provide the victim with a phone number, address, and confirmation code specific to the transaction. New Yorkers have also received calls from individuals posing as U.S. Treasury agents.
Click here for a sample recording of this scam.
2. Pocketing Affordable Care Act penalties – Uninsured New Yorkers may face another tax scam involving penalties under the Affordable Care Act. In some cases, untrustworthy tax preparers tell clients to pay the penalties directly to them, and they keep the money. Taxpayers should never make a tax payment directly to an individual or tax preparer. Payments should be made only with a tax return or in response to a letter from the IRS.
3. Tax preparers become the targets – Tax preparers also need to remain vigilant. Recent scams are targeting the preparers via phone calls demanding client information. In these cases, scammers pretend to be from the IRS in hopes of gaining usernames and passwords to taxpayer accounts.
To help New Yorkers protect themselves, Governor Cuomo offered the following tips:
- Don't be fooled by callers who threaten you or ask for personal information. Thieves posing as IRS agents or Tax Department employees use this time of year to prey on taxpayers. Be sure you only give your personal information—including your social security number—to someone you trust. Remember, the NYS Tax Department and the IRS will always send you a letter before contacting you by phone or email about a tax debt. Don’t agree to meet anyone who claims to be a tax representative and insists you pay a debt in person.
- Beware of “phishing” emails. Taxpayers may receive emails that bear fictitious government logos that offer assistance in settling fake tax issues. The NYS Tax Department and IRS will never request personal or financial information by email. Taxpayers can protect themselves against these bogus emails by not clicking on any links and instead going straight to theIRS or Tax Department website.
- Avoid identity theft. Your tax return contains personal information, including your social security number, that identity thieves and scammers seek. To prevent your sensitive information from being compromised, only give it to a tax preparer you trust and regularly monitor your bank account for suspicious activity.
If you believe that you’ve been contacted by someone attempting a scam, have been the victim of fraud or identity theft, or suspect a tax preparer is engaging in illegal activities, visit the Tax Department’s new fraud webpage to learn how to report it.