Kentucky AG Andy Beshear: Tax return time is peak season for scammers

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Scam Alert

FRANKFORT, KY. (WTVQ) – As Kentuckians begin electronically filing their state and federal income taxes, Attorney General Andy Beshear is asking them to be prepared for an increase in scams calls.

Beshear said tax season scams typically involve scammers pretending to be an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agent who claims they need to verify the victim’s personal and financial information over the phone or claims that the victim owes back taxes.

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“Tax season last year was the busiest time for staff in my office who handle scam reports, and this year I want to ensure Kentuckians are prepared for the barrage of scam calls that may not slow down until April,” said Beshear.

Once the scammer has the victim’s information, they can steal tax returns and other funds by changing the deposit to a reloadable money card.

“It is not only IRS scams that increase during tax season, but con artists also try to take advantage of Kentuckians’ interactions with other local, state and federal agencies,” said Beshear.

Beshear said his office recently worked with a Clark County resident who sent $9,900 to an IRS scammer in the form of Google Play cards.

Threats of arrest coerced the victim to follow the demands of the caller.

The victim is now working with Beshear’s office and has signed-up for Scam Alerts to avoid future victimization.

Beshear’s office recommends following these tips to avoid falling victim to scammers:

  • Never share any personal or financial information over the phone.
  • Know that the IRS, and other local, state and federal agencies, will never call and request money over the phone, or ask you to send money via wire transfer, cash or gift cards.
  • If you receive a call from someone pretending to be with a local, state or federal agency, hang-up and independently verify the correct number and dial it.

If you believe you have been a victim of a tax return theft, Kentuckians can contact the IRS directly at 800-908-4490 and the Kentucky Department of Revenue at 502-564-4581.

The filing deadline for individual income tax returns is Monday, April 15, 2019.

Beshear continues to work with state and federal partners to find innovative ways to stop scam calls – one of the critical missions of the Office of the Attorney General.

To report a scam to the Office of Attorney General, call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 888-432-9257 or visit ag.ky.gov to fill out a complaint online.

To sign up to receive Scam Alerts from Beshear’s office text the words KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468311) or enroll online HERE.

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Erica joins the ABC 36 family as a Co-Anchor of Good Morning Kentucky weekday mornings from 5am-7am with Cody Adams and Good Day Kentucky weekday mornings from 9am to 10am. Erica also anchors News at Midday from 12-12:30pm. She is also a Web and Social Media Content Producer. Erica graduated in three and a half years from Michigan State University with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism and specialization in Women, Gender and Social Justice. Although she hails from Michigan, Erica has worked as a News Reporter/Sports Anchor for the CBS-affiliate in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Prior to that, she worked for a PBS-affiliate there covering all types of news – even providing live reports for The Weather Channel during her first hurricane. She then moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana and worked as the Weekend Anchor/Reporter at KPLC, the NBC/FOX/CW affiliate. Erica comes to Lexington from the Huntington area where she worked at WSAZ, an NBC/CW affiliate in West Virginia, as a weekday evening anchor covering the tri states of Ohio and Kentucky as well. In addition to her background on TV, Erica has worked in radio, served as the PA announcer for the Class A "Lansing Lugnuts" and hosted Carnival parades in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Some of her favorite hobbies include running, reading, hiking, spending time with her husband and taking pictures of their furbabies. Erica is big on community involvement, having served as a board member for Dress for Success, volunteered as a Big with Big Brothers Big Sisters, worked on the Mayor's Armed Forces Commission in Lake Charles and hosted countless events. She hopes you can connect with her on Facebook: EricaBivensTV and on Twitter: @ericabivens or Instagram: erica.bivens. You can also email her at ebivens@wtvq.com. Please send all event inquiries via email. Erica is excited to explore Lexington and the outdoors and - of course - meet all of you!