Comptroller Franchot Warns Maryland
Taxpayers of New Phishing Scam to Steal Identities

Taxpayers Advised to Not Open Links or Respond to Messages

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (April 6, 2016) – With the 2016 tax filing deadline less than two weeks away, Comptroller Peter Franchot warns taxpayers to stay vigilant and safeguard their personal information by being alert to new phone and email phishing scams aimed at getting their money through the disclosure of Social Security numbers.

The new phishing scams target Maryland taxpayers, as well as residents of Washington, D.C., and Virginia, using tax fraud as a scare tactic to trick victims into divulging their personal information.

“If anyone calls you or sends you an email asking for your Social Security number, don’t respond,” Comptroller Franchot said. “If these scammers try to talk you, hang up immediately. These are criminals trying to steal your identity and take your money. Be on alert for these shameless and unscrupulous attempts to destroy your financial sanctity, especially as the tax season winds down.”

The Internal Revenue Service said scammers are calling or emailing taxpayers to verify the last four digits of their Social Security number by clicking on a link provided in an email, which explains that recent data breaches across the nation may be involved.

Neither the IRS nor the Comptroller’s Office sends emails like this and there is no special effort to contact taxpayers in the region.

In another recent phishing scam, the Comptroller’s Office has been notified that employees at certain businesses have received suspicious emails from individuals impersonating company officials and asking the recipient to supply copies of employee W-2 statements. Those who respond to the emails risk having their personal information and identities stolen.

“These email scams are made to trick taxpayers by looking and sounding legitimate,”  Franchot said. “Taxpayers should never send records containing personal financial information, such as W-2 forms, to anyone except the IRS or the Comptroller’s Office.”

The Comptroller’s Office warns taxpayers to not reply to emails requesting confidential information, especially your Social Security number, birth date, salary information or home address. If you receive an email asking for a copy of your W-2 form, you should immediately contact your employer. You also may call 1-800-MD-TAXES or email mdcomptroller@comp.state.md.us.

The Comptroller’s Field Enforcement Division investigates suspicious activity reported by taxpayers. Comptroller Franchot’s top legislative priority this year is the Taxpayer Protection Act, which provides greater tools to prevent fraud and protect taxpayers.

“Share this information with your friends and neighbors so that someone you know doesn’t become the latest tax fraud victim,” the Comptroller said.