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PA's Revenue Secretary Warns Residents Of New Tax Scam

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Brennan Linsley
/
AP
In this Jan. 14, 2017, file photo, tax preparation firm owner Alicia Utley reaches for hard copies of tax forms in Boulder, Colo.

With Tax Day just about four weeks away, Pennsylvania's Department of Revenue is urging residents to watch out for a new scam.

According to the department, cyber criminals are filing false tax returns under unsuspecting people's names. When that refund reaches the bank accounts of the victims, the scammer poses as an IRS agent and tell them the refund was fraudulent, and the IRS needs it back.

Or, the criminal poses as a debt collector and intimidates the person into giving them the money. 

Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell says his department is using software to filter through tax returns and looks for ones possibly targeted in the scam.

"And then we'll contact the taxpayer and make sure it's from the person it's supposed to be from," Hassell said.

Scams like these are pretty common this time of year, according to Hassell, because many taxpayers are filing their tax returns.

"If you have any doubts about who's contacting you, then don't be bullied into taking immediate action," he said. "You can also hang up the phone and call the IRS directly, and ask if you owe them money."

Hassel said residents should change their passwords routinely and never give out personal information over the phone. It's unclear how many Pennsylvanians have been targeted by the scam.

The Commonwealth's fraud investigation unit is available to help victims.