Attorney General’s Office warns Coloradans against tax-related scams
March 24, 2023 (DENVER) – With the federal tax filing deadline approaching, Attorney General Phil Weiser today issued a consumer alert warning Coloradans to be on the lookout for scams and other fraud related to taxes and tax filing.
“Whether you’ve already filed, you’re planning to file early, or you’re waiting until the deadline on April 18, Colorado taxpayers need to be on the lookout for scams at tax time,” Weiser said. “Colorado usually sees an uptick in tax-related fraud complaints during the tax season. If you believe you are being scammed, simply hang up the phone or delete the email and be sure to do your homework to ensure you’re choosing a competent tax preparer.”
Most tax scams are just one variety of what are known as government imposter scams. These usually involve someone receiving a phone call, email, or letter in the mail from a scammer posing as a government agency trying to get a consumer’s money, personal information, or both.
Fraudsters use several tactics to get people to cooperate, including threatening arrest or other legal action if the person doesn’t comply with the scammer’s demands. Coloradans should know that local, state and federal government agencies will never ask consumers for personal information, or to send money or remit payments via a wire transfer or pre-paid gift card.
When the attempt to defraud comes via a letter, text, or email, scammers usually use official-looking materials such as the Internal Revenue Service or Colorado Department of Revenue logos. When the scammer tries to reach a taxpayer over the phone, they will attempt to take advantage of the instinct to cooperate with someone with an official-sounding title or reason for calling, and will often ask for personal information, ask you to send money right away, make threats, or try to keep you on the phone.
Taxpayers who believe they are being scammed should immediately hang up the phone or ignore the text, email or letter, and reach out to the agency directly via the phone number or email address listed on their official website—not any of the contact information in the suspicious communication. Taxpayers should never click on any links or download any attachments in any suspicious emails or texts.
In addition to government imposter scams, consumers should also be vigilant when choosing a tax preparer. Though Colorado does not require preparers be licensed, taxpayers should select preparers who are experienced and thorough. Coloradans who meet certain income and other requirements can get their taxes done for free through Tax Help Colorado, a project housed at Mile High United Way.
Consumers who are expecting a tax refund should also know that it’s much easier, more convenient and above all more secure to get their refund via direct deposit at their bank than through a paper check from the IRS or the state. Coloradans who don’t currently have a bank account can visit coag.gov/bankon to learn more about how having a bank account can improve their overall financial health.
Coloradans who believe they have been the victim of a tax scam should file a complaint with the attorney general at stopfraudcolorado.gov