How To Protect Yourself From Tax Scams

One of my most important jobs is to help keep New Yorkers safe from scam artists. And with tax season just around the corner, there are a lot of scammers who would love to get their hands on your personal information.

I have a few pieces of advice to help you protect yourself and your loved ones.

One of the most common schemes at tax time is when scammers pretend to government officials — from, say, the IRS or the Treasury Department — to get you to turn over your personal information.

They may threaten to arrest or deport you if you don’t give them what they want.

They might even use special technology so their name comes up as the IRS on your caller ID.

Don’t be fooled. Here’s what you should know:

  • Never give out personal information to people who call you unsolicited. That includes your Social Security number, bank account information, or credit card information. No legitimate government agency will ever ask for your credit card number over the phone. And they certainly won’t ask for you to pay in prepaid gift cards or certified checks — a favorite tool of scammers because those cards and checks are hard for police to trace.
  • If you owe money, you will receive a legitimate notice in the mail that tells you who you owe money to and why. If you haven’t gotten a legitimate piece of mail like that, the collection call is bogus.
  • Remember that no legitimate government organizations will ever threaten arrest or deportation if you fail to pay a debt.

If you live in New York and someone is threatening you — or if you feel like you’re being scammed — you should contact my office immediately at 1–800–771–7755.

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