‘Scammers are coming out of the woodwork’: How to protect yourself at tax filing deadline

(Update: Added video, comments from Bend tax advisors, Prineville residents, Cybersecurity co.)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – As Tuesday’s tax filing deadline nears, we’re getting alerts about fraud that could cost you.

Oregon is the #1 state most targeted for tax fraud, according to cybersecurity firm Trend Micro, which says Oregonians made up 42 percent of recent victims. More than 260,000 tax-related scams have been uncovered across the country since January, according to Trend Micro, a provider of free software for consumers.

“The scammers come from the woodwork,” said Trend Micro VP of Threat Intelligence Jon Clay. “Of course, tax fraud is big, especially at this time of year.”

“Last year we blocked 146 billion threats targeting our customers and we were able to block them for them,” added Clay.

The company says that last year 68 million Americans lost money to phone scams alone, costing them more than $39.5 billion. To detect fraudulent calls, emails and SMS, users are notified of personal threats.

Prineville resident Marilyn Applegate said, “To be honest, I just didn’t get any of those calls. I would just ignore them when I have scam calls.”

Trend Micro also warns about malicious online advertising impersonating the IRS website. As a rule of thumb, do not enter social security or banking information.

Patti King and Stanley Turel are chartered tax advisors with the Columbia Pacific Tax Service in Bend.

“The first warning is that the IRS never calls a customer to ask for money,” Turel said Friday. “It’s always through a communication, usually a letter in the mail.”

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King added, “Some of the letters are frauds.”

If you receive such correspondence, contact the IRS directly to determine if it is genuine.

You can also reach out to those preparing returns who are now in the middle of their busiest time of the year.

Turel said: “Nobody takes on new customers. We’ve had to limit the number of new clients we take on because we’re already stretched with 10 employees.”

If you’re having trouble finding someone to do your taxes, you can file an extension with USA.Gov. And if you want to download the free app, it’s called Trend Micro Check.

Here are some tips on avoiding tax fraud from Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum:

As the federal tax filing deadline nears, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is warning Oregon residents to be on the alert for fraud and other fraud involving taxes and tax returns.

“During tax season, identity theft cases increase as fraudsters use stolen information to file fake tax returns and steal refunds from people,” Rosenblum said. “Oregonians should always be on the lookout for scammers trying to steal their personal and financial information.”

Most tax fraud is just a variant of what is known as government fraud. These scammers pose as representatives of a government agency, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or Social Security, or a company or charity.

“Unfortunately, scammers have clever ways of tricking you into trusting them so they can steal your personal information and money,” AG Rosenblum added. “Don’t fall for it!”

When attempting to scam by letter, text message, or email, scammers typically use official-looking materials such as the IRS or Oregon Department of Revenue logos.

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When attempting to reach a taxpayer over the phone, the scammer will attempt to exploit the instinct to work with someone with an official-sounding title or reason for calling, and will often ask you for personal information and ask you to send money properly and stay away , make threats or try to keep you on the phone.

Oregon citizens should know that local, state, and federal government agencies will never ask consumers to send money or make payments by wire transfer, prepaid gift card, or by purchasing cryptocurrency.

If you think you are being scammed, hang up the phone, do not click any links in a text message or email and – if you are concerned – contact the agency directly using the phone number provided on their official website or email address. Do not use any of the contact information in the suspicious communication.

“As we enter the final weeks of the 2023 tax season, the Oregon Department of Treasury is urging taxpayers and tax professionals to be on the lookout for fake calls, texts, emails and online posts from scammers attempting to steal your personal and financial information to steal,” said Joanna Robert, communications director for the Oregon Department of Revenue. “Go to the IRS website to learn more about protecting yourself from tax season fraud.”

If you believe you have been the victim of tax fraud or wish to report suspected fraud, file a complaint with the Oregon Attorney General online at

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