Consumers Cautioned about Income Tax Scams

HARRISBURG – Attorney General Linda Kelly today advised consumers to be wary of potential scams surrounding the upcoming deadline for filing taxes. This includes being on the lookout for scammers targeting consumers looking to complete their taxes and consumers looking to acquire a speedy refund.

“These scams may not be obvious upon an initial encounter,” Kelly said. “Scam artists are creative in constructing the appearance of their scams. Their email messages and phone calls can easily have the appearance of government agencies, banks, credit card companies and major businesses.”

Kelly said that in the past couple of years, reported cases of these scams have identified trends that include a portrayed urgency in sending money and insisting that there will be consequences if the consumer does not send money.

In some of these scams, Kelly said that the scam artists request personal information from consumers, even though federal and state agencies do not request information like social security numbers or bank account information through phone or email.

Kelly urged consumers to not reply to emails and phone calls that they find suspicious.

Consumers are encouraged to keep their tax-related information secure to avoid exposing personal information that could lead to identity theft. Kelly offered the following tips to ensuring that consumers do not fall victim to a tax season scam:

  • Keep tax paperwork in a safe location.
  • Shred any documents that are no longer needed.
  • f you are filing online, make sure you have updated firewall, antivirus and spyware software installed on your computer.
  • Do not leave tax documents in an open outgoing mailbox. Take them directly to the Post Office or mailbox.

Consumers with questions or concerns about possible scams, or other consumer problems, can contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-441-2555. For more information on tax related scams and scam alerts visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov.

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