Hempstead Town officials have received numerous reports of telephone scams targeting town residents during the 2016 tax season. Supervisor Anthony J. Santino and Councilman Anthony D’Esposito are strongly urging neighbors – especially senior citizens – to be on the lookout for con artists by educating themselves on some of their most common tactics.
“As neighbors compile their detailed personal financial information this tax season, it is imperative that they take precautions to ensure that their files are safe and secure,” stated Supervisor Santino. “There are certainly ‘red flags’ to observe and precautions that residents can take to avoid being duped by a telephone scammer.”
“I am proud to partner with Supervisor Santino to inform residents on the financial threats posed by telephone scammers,” added Councilman D’Esposito.
According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), many telephone scammers will attempt to impersonate IRS agents before claiming that a person owes the agency money. To prevent taxpayers from being victimized, the IRS has put together a list of five things the agency does not request over the phone, but that a scammer might. They include:
- Demanding immediate payment without first providing a bill.
- Requiring you to pay taxes without the opportunity to question the caller’s statements.
- Insisting that you use a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card.
- Requesting credit or debit card information over the phone.
- Threatening to have you arrested for not paying taxes.
Supervisor Santino advises that residents, particularly senior citizens, who feel that they have been targeted by a phone scammer should call the IRS at (800) 829-1040 to speak to an actual IRS agent. Neighbors can also report scamming complaints to the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov.
Supervisor Santino has worked hard on behalf of Town of Hempstead taxpayers. Partnering with Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin, Santino took legal action to extend the general tax deadline after Nassau County issued late changes to the tax roll. That deadline has been extended to March 1st. What’s more, the town is providing highly trained volunteers to assist senior citizens with tax preparation and filing through its VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program.
“Town of Hempstead residents work tirelessly to provide for their families and give back to their communities,” concluded Supervisor Santino. “This tax season, don’t let scammers take your hard-earned money. Stay vigilant, and make sure you protect your financial information.”