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AG warns about tax-related ‘phishing’ emails

As the April 18 tax deadline approaches, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman is asking taxpayers to notify his office of any unsolicited email messages disguised as official communications from the Internal Revenue Service or tax preparation companies, designed to steal personal and financial information.

A growing problem during tax season, the so-called “phishing” scams may violate consumer fraud statutes.

Schneiderman said most “phishing” email scams involve official-looking messages 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.

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.

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.