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Consumer Alert: NYS Tax Department Issues Warning Following Reports of Suspicious Phone Calls Criminals, posing as IRS or Tax Department employees, use scare tactics to swindle New Yorkers out of cash and private information

For Release: Immediate,

For press inquiries only, contact: James Gazzale, 518-457-7377

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today reminded New Yorkers to be mindful of tax scams. Despite the tax season being over, con artists are working year-round to swindle unsuspecting taxpayers out of cash and their personal information.

"We are receiving initial reports from taxpayers who received threatening calls perpetrated by individuals posing as Tax Department employees," said New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Jerry Boone. "We encourage taxpayers to contact us if they suspect they have received this type of malicious telephone call."

Taxpayers have recently contacted the Department to report suspicious phone calls from individuals posing as Tax Department employees. The callers threatened arrest and seizure of possessions if immediate payment was not made for a fictitious tax debt. The Department is actively investigating these reports. 

Tips to Identify Tax Scams

Scammers will threaten you over the phone. A caller - posing as an IRS or Tax Department employee - will demand that you immediately make payment for a tax debt. He or she also may threaten you with police action or deportation.

  • The NYS Tax Department does not use scare tactics. The Department will always notify you of a tax debt first by mail before contacting you by telephone. And the Tax Department will never demand that you pay taxes without providing you with the opportunity to question or review the amount that you owe.

Scammers will demand that you pay in a specific way. For instance, con artists often demand that payments can only be made through wire transfers, prepaid debit cards or even in-person.

  • The NYS Tax Department does not require any specific form of payment. The Department will always provide you with multiple options for payment.

Scammers might tell you the last four digits of your social security number or other private information. Con artists may have access to personal information about you, and use it trick you out of money or additional information.

  • The NYS Tax Department will not provide your social security number to you - or any other caller. This is a strict Tax Department policy.

Scammers will try to trick you through phishing emails. Con artists, sometimes using what appears to be the official logo of a federal or state agency, will use email to ask you to provide personal information or access to bank accounts.

  • The NYS Tax Department does not request personal or financial information by email. If you owe taxes, you will always receive a letter in the mail first. While the Tax Department does use email to share information with taxpayers, it never asks the recipient to include personal information when responding.

Don't Become a Victim!

  • If you receive a threatening phone call regarding your taxes, hang up immediately.
  • If the caller demands that you meet him or her in person to pay a debt, or that you visit a specific location to purchase a debit card to pay off a debt, do not visit that location. Report the call to the number below.
  • Never provide personal information in an email or click on any suspicious links asking for private information.
  • Listen to an audio recording of a recorded scam message threatening an IRS lawsuit.

Who to Contact

  • If a con artist posing as an IRS representative contacts you, report it to the IRS online, or call 1-800-366-4484.
  • If a scammer posing as a NYS Tax Department employee contacts you, note the date, time and telephone number and call 518-451-1566 or email dtfoia@tax.ny.gov. If the caller left a message, save the message.
  • If you owe New York State taxes, or think you owe taxes, call the Department at 518-457-5434.

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