(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is warning Ohioans to watch for signs of tax identity theft after receiving dozens of complaints involving potential tax fraud.
"The IRS is reporting a significant increase in taxpayer identity theft, and we are seeing signs of it in Ohio," Attorney General DeWine said. "We want to warn all Ohioans that thieves may try to use your Social Security number to fraudulently obtain a tax refund in your name."
Since March, the Ohio Attorney General's Consumer Protection Section has received more than 50 complaints from Northeast Ohio consumers who said they were promised money from a "special stimulus program" from the IRS.
The consumers said they provided their personal information, including name, Social Security number and date of birth, in exchange for the promise of $1,200 to $1,400 refunds from the IRS.
In reality, the affected individuals typically received government assistance and were not eligible to receive any kind of tax refund from the IRS.
"If someone promised you a special tax refund and asked for your Social Security number, it's likely a scam and you should contact my office immediately," DeWine said.
Attorney General DeWine says that individuals who received a prepaid debit card as part of the "special stimulus program" should not cash the card or spend any money on it, because the refund is not legitimate.
Consumers who believe they have been affected by a tax scam should file a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General's Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or by calling 800-282-0515.
RADIO STATIONS: Audio for broadcast available for download.
AUDIO TRANSCRIPT (Run Time 0:26):
OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL MIKE DEWINE: We're seeing a type of taxpayer identity theft where scammers promise "special tax refunds" to vulnerable Ohioans in order to steal their identities. Ohioans should always remember to never give out their social security number or personal information over the phone to an unsolicited caller. If you have experienced this or any other scam, please call our office at 1-800-282-0515.
Lisa Hackley 614-466-3840
Eve Mueller 614-466-3840