Attorney General Pruitt Cautions Oklahomans about Tax Scams
OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Scott Pruitt Friday urged Oklahomans to be cautious and protect themselves from tax scams as Tax Day approaches.
“Tax scams peak around tax filing day,” Pruitt said. “We cannot stress enough to watch out for those who promise faster turnarounds, bigger refunds or credits. What looks like a good deal at first, could cost you more in the long run.”
The IRS has pinpointed a few scams to be aware of this year:
· Identity thieves are using people’s social security numbers or other identifying information to fraudulently file tax returns and claim refunds;
· Fake e-mails, also known as phishing, from the IRS that attempt to obtain confidential personal and financial information so they can commit identity theft;
· Unscrupulous tax preparers prey on taxpayers by encouraging folks to claim false information for larger refunds, which can result in fraud or theft;
· Scammers often promote that “free money” is available from the IRS and claim that securing this money requires little or no documentation. Some even guarantee fraudulent Social Security refunds or rebates.
To avoid becoming a victim this tax season, the AG’s Public Protection Unit offers a few tax safety tips:
· Beware of e-mails claiming to be from the IRS asking for personal information, bank PIN numbers or credit card information. Never respond to these e-mails or open the attachments;
· Be wary of offers to split your refund in exchange for filing your return;
· When you file your taxes electronically use a software provider that is authorized by the IRS. If using a tax preparer, make sure they are authorized to do so by the IRS;
· Look out for unsolicited offers to prepare your taxes from an unfamiliar company or one that is located far away.
Pruitt reminded Oklahomans that taxpayers are responsible for what is on their returns even if someone else prepared it for them. If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Staying alert and being cautious can help prevent costly mistakes.
If you think you may be at risk or have been a victim of tax fraud, contact the IRS immediately at 1 (800) 908-4490. To learn more about credits and availability, visit www.IRS.gov, call (800) 829-1040 or visit an IRS office in Enid, Lawton, Oklahoma City or Tulsa.
If you need additional information, contact the Attorney General’s Public Protection Unit online at www.oag.ok.gov or call (405) 521-2029.
The AG’s Public Protection Unit protects consumers from fraudulent, unfair or deceptive business practices and can provide conciliation services to help resolve complaints against businesses.