Scam Alert: Bogus Letters Demanding Payment Sent to Taxpayers
NYS Tax Department assures recipients letters are fake
For Release: Immediate, Friday, August 30, 2019
For press inquiries only, contact: James Gazzale, 518-457-7377
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today alerted taxpayers to fake letters that demand immediate payment for an outstanding tax debt and threaten revocation of passports and driver licenses if the warning is ignored.
The return address on this letter, which was sent to at least one person, is:
Tax Processing Center
Internal Processing Service
Public Judgement Records
The letter states that the recipient has failed to respond to prior notices, demands full payment by a specific date, and provides an 888 number to call to avoid having personal property levied and sold. It also threatens to revoke the recipient’s driver license and passport.
View a copy of the scam letter here.
View copies of other similar scam letters sent to New York taxpayers here.
“This is a common scam in which the recipient is threatened out of the blue with punitive action unless payment—in this case, $12,444 —is made immediately,” said New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Michael Schmidt. “In contrast, our department works with taxpayers who have existing tax debt, such as by establishing an installment payment agreement, to resolve the issue. We also work with all levels of law enforcement to bring the fraudsters who commit these types of crimes to justice.”
How to spot a fake collection letter
The Tax Department never threatens arrest or revocation of passports. A legitimate letter from the department will include:
- Tax Department logo;
- a complete return mailing address;
- an option to respond online, by phone, or by mail;
- the Tax Department website address;
- a detailed explanation for why it was sent; and
- an explanation of your rights as a taxpayer.
Learn more about letters sent from the Tax Department Respond to a letter webpage.
Report impersonation scams
Con artists will often try to impersonate representatives from the Tax Department or IRS. If you receive a suspicious letter from someone claiming to be an employee of either agency, it’s critical that you report it.
You can report possible scams to the Tax Department and IRS online or by phone. We will review your complaint promptly and, if appropriate, take corrective action.
If you receive a suspicious letter that claims to be from the NYS Tax Department, contact the Tax Department by phone (518-451-1566) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Scammers have also claimed to be from the New York State Treasury. If you receive one of these calls, notify the agency at 1-800-771-7755.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) should also be alerted. You can file a complaint on the FTC website or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).