Tax Scams in New York

WABC-TV, New York, New York reported on March 30, 2011 in “Bloomberg warns of tax scams” that during tax time, when taxpayers are in a hurry to meet deadlines, scam artists are out with operations that violate consumer protection laws, scam phone calls and fax requests, and scam emails and websites that offer services to phish taxpayers for personal and financial data.

A taxpayer needs to be on the look out for tax preparers who misrepresent qualifications and illegally advertising refund anticipation loans. The loans may come with high interest not disclosed to the borrower.

A taxpayer may receive a popup to a website that says the person has received a prize like a new iPad if s/he enters a real name and phone number.  A site may give something in return for participating in an IRS survey.  The site tricks the person into entering the information because it says if the person does not enter real information, s/he may not get the prize.

A New York taxpayer may get a phishing email that promises a refund, or requests the taxpayer to file an additional form. The email links to a form that requests detailed personal and/or financial information, such as name, SSN, bank or credit card account numbers or security-related information, such as mother’s maiden name. The email may threaten a consequence for not responding to the e-mail, such as additional taxes or blocking access to the recipient’s funds.  The IRS does not require people to fill out additional forms.  A taxpayer should research the necessary forms to file.  Most scam emails have grammar errors, or gets the IRS website wrong.  Forward scam tax emails to [email protected].  If a taxpayer files online, make sure to get anti-virus software, anti-spyware products, and delete cookies after filing.

A NY taxpayer could receive a confirmation phone call from someone claiming to be an IRS representative who needs to verify personal and banking information before releasing a tax refund.  The IRS never calls taxpayers or sends emails. The IRS sends communications in the postal mail.

A few tax scams have been reported asking people to fax information back. The IRS never does this. When filing documents hardcopy, send them in the postal mail, and shred any drafts.  When using tax software and saving financial data on the computer, make sure access is password protected.

Consult an experienced New York tax attorney for advice on tax preparation.