Tax season is a scammer’s busy season, too. Not only do they go after accounting and tax preparation firms, they also go after individuals.

What to be aware of

Phishing scams (email) and Smishing scams (text messages):

  1. Anytime you receive an email or text from the IRS or a government entity it is most likely a scam. THEY DO NOT SEND OUT EMAILS OR TEXTS. Furthermore, if the communication has things like “Your account has now been put on hold,” or “Unusual or Suspicious Activity Report,” or “You may be in violation,” or “We need more information to process your return or forms.” IT IS A SCAM, DO NOT RESPOND. Delete the message immediately.

This holds true for phone calls too. Generally the IRS or NYS do not call taxpayers for information, they send a letter first.

There are also lots of scams people and businesses receive in the mail. Many of these

look very official and lots of time even have pictures or symbols of NYS on it. However, there are a few key giveaways that make it stand out as a scam:

  1. If it has a “1-800” on it, it is likely a scam.
  2. If the web address or email address does not say “.gov” it is a scam. 
  3. If they ask you to make payment to anything other than the “United States Treasury” or the “New York State Tax Department or Commissioner of Taxation,” it’s a scam.
  4. Lots of times these mailings will have a short sentence stating they are not, or are not connected to, any government entity. This is generally buried within the document so that you don’t see it. Read carefully.