Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District), Chairman of the Senate’s Consumer Protection Committee, today warned residents about a new identity theft email scam that cons people into divulging their personal information by promising an IRS tax refund.
"March is the time where many of us are preparing our tax returns, and of course we would all love to receive a tax refund. However, it is important that people be wary of these types of scams, which will leave them paying long after April 15th passes," said Senator Fuschillo. "Residents should always remember that they do not need to apply for a tax refund, and neither the IRS nor the State’s Department of Taxation and Finance asks for personal or financial information through an unsolicited email."
This "phishing scam" occurs when thieves send a fraudulent email informing the recipient that they are eligible for an income tax refund. Individuals are then directed to use a link within the email to a website that appears official, where they are asked to fill out a form in order to obtain their refund. The form requests personal and financial information, such as social security number and credit card accounts, from the victim. The thieves then use this information to steal the victim’s identity.
Both IRS and New York State’s Department of Taxation and Finance issued a consumer alert about this type of scam. They advise anyone who receives such an email, which often comes from the address "firstname.lastname@example.org", not to open any of the contained attachments in case they contain a computer virus. Residents should then contact the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 to determine whether the email is legitimate.
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