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Post date: April 14 2011

With Tax Day Approaching, A.G. Schneiderman Asks New Yorkers To Report "Phishing" Email Tax Scams To His Office

Specialized Tax Scam Involves Official-Looking Messages Purportedly From IRS or Tax Prep Companies That Solicit Personal or Financial Information

Attorney General Schneiderman: Please Report Examples of This Fraud to Our Office at


NEW YORK – As the April 18 tax deadline approaches, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today asked taxpayers to notify his office of any unsolicited email messages disguised as official communications from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or tax preparation companies, designed to steal personal and financial information from unsuspecting consumers. A growing problem during tax season, these so-called “phishing” scams may violate consumer fraud statutes. 

“For many New Yorkers, the internet has revolutionized tax filing, but unfortunately, it also has opened the door for high-tech scams that can devastate the lives of unsuspecting consumers. Unsolicited emails from the ‘IRS’ may be fraudulent, and consumers should be careful before they divulge personal or financial information to anyone,” said Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. “Tax season is stressful enough, and the last thing New Yorkers need to worry about is having their identities stolen with the click of a mouse. We ask all New Yorkers to please contact our office if they detect scams of this nature.”

Most “phishing” email scams involve official-looking messages, sometimes emblazoned with logos of the IRS, U.S. Treasury Department or other tax preparation services, that direct consumers to a website that looks like an authentic government or business site. The consumer is then prompted to provide information to “update” his or her account, which is then used by scam artists to establish credit, make purchases, apply for loans or even seek employment.

Common warning signs for a phishing tax scam include:

  • Emails purportedly from the IRS or tax service provider citing a problem with your tax forms
  • Requests to divulge personal information, including your Social Security or credit card numbers
  • Instructions to click on links directing you to a third-party website
  • Threats that you will not receive your tax refund, or will be reported delinquent, if you do not follow the email’s instructions

The IRS does not send out unsolicited emails or ask consumers to divulge detailed personal information. In addition, the IRS does not ask taxpayers for the PIN numbers, passwords or other secret access information for their credit card, bank or other financial accounts.

Attorney General Schneiderman urged New Yorkers that in addition to being vigilant consumers, they should report instances of fraud to his office. Consumers who have received suspicious emails or other tax preparation scams, are urged to contact the Attorney General’s Office at: 1-800-771-7755.

“It’s critical that email scams are reported to the authorities so that we can hold wrongdoers accountable, limit their damage, and protect consumers,” added Attorney General Schneiderman.