With the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announcing that the federal income tax filing due date for individuals is extended to May 17, state Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis warned Floridians to be aware of scam artists looking to use the announcement in their latest ploy to steal sensitive information for personal gain.
To help taxpayers safeguard themselves from scams, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides tips and resources so individuals and families can protect themselves.
“With tax day extended, there’s no doubt that scam artists and fraudsters will be ramping up their efforts to use this announcement to prey on unsuspecting citizens. Having the right preparation makes all the difference in the fight against fraud and scams. Don’t let these criminals impact your finances or your peace of mind. Stay on guard and know what to look out for so you can stop a potential scam before it happens. Anyone who feels they have been a victim of fraud, report it immediately at FraudFreeFlorida.com,” Patronis said on Monday.
Patronis offered the following tips from the FTC to protect yourself from tax-related scams:
• Beware of IRS imposters. Don’t wire money or pay with a prepaid debit card. The real IRS won’t ask you to pay with prepaid debit cards or wire transfers. Once you send it, the money is gone.
• Pass imposter information on to a friend. You may not have gotten one of these calls, but the chances are you know someone who has.
• Use a secure connection when filing online. Use a secure internet connection if you file electronically, or mail your tax return directly from the post office.
• Do your homework. Research a tax preparer thoroughly before you hand over personal information. If you have tax questions, go to the IRS directly at irs.gov or call the IRS at 800-829-1040.