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Department of Taxation and Finance

Six Simple Steps to Safeguard Private Information Stop scammers in their tracks with proactive security measures this tax season

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, along with the Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection today encouraged New Yorkers to take proactive security measures to avoid being victimized by identity thieves.

“Be mindful of those who can access your personal information, and provide it only to those you know and trust,” said Acting Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Nonie Manion. “Now that the income tax filing season is underway, scammers are eager to steal personal information, including social security numbers, to file bogus claims for tax refunds.”

“Scammers are particularly active during tax season, when sensitive personal information is shared, making filers vulnerable to identity theft,” said New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado. “We urge everyone filing taxes to take these helpful steps to keep their information protected. The Division of Consumer Protection stands ready to assist the Governor in his fight against cybercrime and ensure that New Yorkers information and hard-earned money is not at risk.”

The Tax Department urged New Yorkers to follow these simple steps to thwart identity thieves:

1. Protect personal information, including Social Security numbers, birth dates, and driver license numbers. Shred documents containing sensitive data before discarding.

2. File your tax return as early as possible. The earlier you file your tax return, the less likely your information can be used by an identity thief to file a fraudulent claim for a tax refund.

3. Don’t be fooled by aggressive phone scams. Remember, the NYS Tax Department and the IRS will always send you a letter before contacting you by phone or email and will never threaten you.
4. Don’t get hooked by a phishing scheme. Taxpayers may receive emails with authentic-looking 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.

5. Report scam attempts. If you’ve been contacted by a scammer posing as an IRS agent you must contact the IRS. Learn how to report it here. If you’ve been contacted by a con artist claiming to be from the New York State Tax Department, visit the Tax Department’s Report fraud, scams, and identity theft to learn how to report it. The Tax Department promptly reviews each complaint and takes corrective action when appropriate.

6. Use a secure online connection. 92% of New York taxpayers file electronically. Never file your taxes while connected to public Wi-Fi networks, which are far less secure than those in your home or office. Also, never walk away from your computer screen when your private information is visible.