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Sophisticated Scammers Are Back Preying on Seniors

Tax-scammers are back preying upon Seniors, said Westchester County Clerk Timothy C. Idoni in a statement to the public on Wednesday, September 14th. He warns county residents, especially seniors, to beware of scammers who call impersonating New York State Department of Taxation and Finance officials.  “Scammers have been making phone calls to households claiming to represent the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Tax and demanding payment for taxes they falsely claim are owed. The calls appear on Caller ID as tax department numbers. These calls are not coming from the tax department, and you should not respond to these calls,” he cautioned.

According to a release from the Department of Taxation and Finance, scammers are using sophisticated methods to mask their phone numbers with the tax department’s fraud hotline numbers (518) 457-5181 or (518) 457-0578. The Tax Department will not use fraud hotline numbers to contact taxpayers.

Residents, and especially seniors, in the county are urged to be on the lookout for signs of possible scam calls, such as the use of scare tactics to get you to share your personal and financial information.  The obvious red flags are calls from imposters demanding payments in the form of iTunes gift cards and reloadable debit cards. Tax Department employees will not threaten a taxpayer’s failure to pay a tax debt; use email, text messages, or social media to request or discuss your personal or tax information; or demand payment of taxes without the option to question or appeal the amount owed.

Idoni urges the public to report any suspicious contact you have with individuals claiming to be Tax Department employees, including any suspicious phone calls and voicemails received; text messages and emails requesting personal information; or interactions with Tax Department employees who do not seem legitimate. Scams can be reported by phone to 518-451-1566, by email to dtfoia@tax.ny.gov or through the Fraud, Scams and Identity Theft section on the tax department website at www.tax.ny.gov.

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