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**Consumer Alert** CFO Jimmy Patronis: Beware of Scams This Tax Season

1/21/2020

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Contact: Katie Strickland, 850.413.2842, katie.strickland@myfloridacfo.com
Devin Galetta, 850.413.2842, devin.galetta@myfloridacfo.com
 
**Consumer Alert**
CFO Jimmy Patronis: Beware of Scams This Tax Season

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—
As the 2020 tax season approaches, Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis warns of an increased threat of fraud and scams for individuals and small businesses when filing taxes. Recent reports show that tax season brings a wave of dangerous tax scams and consumers must be aware of the Internal Revenue Services’ (IRS) ‘Dirty Dozen’ list of tax scams to avoid.

CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “The 2020 tax season is here and individuals and business owners must be on the lookout for tax scams. In 2019, imposter scams we're the second most reported fraud category in Florida. It's important to stay on guard, especially during tax season, to protect yourself and your business. Stay informed of the warning signs of scams and always remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
 
5 Tips to Avoid Tax Scams
 
1. File Your Tax Return Early. This decreases the amount of time a scam artist has to steal your identity and file a return in your or your businesses name.
2. Beware of Impersonations. Scams take many shapes and forms, such as phone calls, letters and emails. Many IRS impersonators use threats to intimidate and bully people into paying a fabricated tax bill. They may even threaten to arrest their would-be victim if the victim doesn’t comply.
3. Be Cautious of Suspicious Phone Calls or Emails. The IRS will never call to demand an immediate payment be made using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.
4. Watch Out for Bogus Charities. Scam artists impersonate charities to get money or private information from well-intentioned taxpayers. Bogus websites use names similar to legitimate charities to trick people to send money or provide personal financial information.
5. File a Report With the IRS and Police. If you become a victim, file a Form 14039 with the IRS and also file an identity theft report with your local police department.

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About CFO Jimmy Patronis 
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a statewide elected official and a member of Florida’s Cabinet who oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Patronis works each day to fight insurance fraud, support Florida’s firefighters, and ensure the state’s finances are stable to support economic growth in the state. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).