The Lead

Tax Day is a month away — Pa. officials offer tips on how to avoid getting scammed

By: - March 11, 2019 11:40 am

Tax Day, April 15, is about a month away, and maybe you’ve already started getting the phone calls. You know the one: A pre-recorded voice, claiming to be from the government, claims that you’ll face fees, penalties, and maybe even jail if you don’t get your fiscal house in order.

You probably know this already — it’s a scam designed to part you from your money as efficiently as possible.

Officials from the Pennsylvania Dept. of Revenue, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants gathered at the Capitol on Monday morning to offer tips on how to identify potential scammers — and what do about it if you’ve been scammed or if you think someone is trying to scam you.

“Last year we saw approximately 2.7 million taxpayers file their Pennsylvania tax returns in the final month before the filing deadline,” state Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell said in a statement. “This is a good time for us to remind the public that filing now through our free online system can help prevent cyber-criminals from stealing your personal information and filing a fraudulent tax return in your name.”

Richard Furlong, a “stakeholder liaison” from the Internal Revenue Service, was also on-hand Monday to call attention to the federal agency’s “Dirty Dozen” list of scams. They include “phishing schemes, phone scams, identity theft ploys and refund fraud committed by dishonest tax preparers.”

“Taxpayers should constantly be on guard against these scams,” Furlong said in a statement released by the Revenue Department. “We know from experience that fraudsters will pose as officials from the IRS and threaten honest taxpayers to try to get ahold of their money and sensitive data. You can never be too cautious.”

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.

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