The State Attorney General is warning consumers to be on the alert for scams related to their federal tax refunds and economic stimulus rebates, Rep. Dave Hickernell announced today.
Scam artists often use current events, such as the federal economic stimulus refund, to add credibility to their operations.
These scams frequently ask that individuals provide personal information such as Social Security numbers, bank account information, birth dates and addresses. This information is purportedly used to ‘verify’ or ‘confirm’ one’s claim. Instead of a rebate check, consumers later find that their identities have been stolen and their names have been used for numerous unauthorized purposes.
Whether the request comes in the form of an e-mail or a telephone call, the scam can be very convincing. Web sites, which are very similar to officially published government sites, can be used to keep the story going.
Individuals should be aware that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and other federal and state agencies do not request personal information by telephone or by e-mail. Furthermore, tax refunds and the economic stimulus rebates are not processed in this manner.
Any requests for personal information should immediately set off a warning signal, particularly if the request attempts to hasten one’s response. The safest way to respond to such requests is to contact banks and state agencies directly though telephone numbers, Web sites and addresses that have been published in directories or other verified sources.
Consumers who have been affected by scam artists can find help by contacting the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-441-2555.
More information is also available online at Hickernell’s Web site at RepHickernell.com .
Rep. Dave Hickernell
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
House Republican Public Relations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2008