RI Tax Administrator and Attorney General warn public of email tax scam
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Rhode Island taxpayers need to be on alert for an e-mail scam in which someone is claiming to be from the Rhode Island Department of Revenue’s Division of Taxation which appears to be reaching billing recipients for Rhode Island income tax.
The email message displays the R.I. Division of Taxation logo and the subject line is titled “Resident Income Tax Notice”.
The emailer claims that a large amount of money is being held at an offshore bank in the taxpayer’s name.
If the taxpayer recipient agrees to pay half of the asked tax sum, allegedly to cover R.I. taxes, the large sum will be transferred to the taxpayer.
Rhode Island Tax Administrator Neena Savage and Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Neronha issued a joint statement regarding the scam.
“Those who send such e-mails are trying to steal a recipient’s money, identity, or both,” Savage said.
“Do not open such e-mails. If you open one by accident, do not respond. Do not open any links or
attachments, and please contact law enforcement authorities,” she said.
Neronha asks the public to be vigilant as new scams surface in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The government will not ask you to pay money upfront to receive income tax funds,” Neronha said.
“These are challenging times and many people could use some relief. Unfortunately, there are scammers
who will try and take advantage of people in need. If you see it, call us. The more information we get from the public, the more we can get the word out to help others.” He said.
It is said that some emails have contained an attachment in which the criminal provides the steps the taxpayer must take to claim the large sum of money.
Email receipients are asked to pay 71,330 British pounds is approximately 86,860 in U.S. dollars in order to receive the large sum of money in return. This means the taxpayer would approximately receive 14.3 million in British pounds which is approximately 17.4 million U.S. dollars.
“On confirmation of payment, your funds will be authorized for swift transfer to your bank account. A swift compliance with the above directives is mandatory,” the message says.
In a later email exchange, the criminal then asked the taxpayer to send the money in form of U.S. currency, being cash to an address in Jefferson, Louisiana.
The R.I. Division of Taxation was quickly notified by an intermediary of the email exchange.
“Especially amid the uncertainty and anxiety created by the coronavirus pandemic, taxpayers who are at home and online may be particularly vulnerable. But it is precisely at such a time that taxpayers need to be especially vigilant about fraudulent schemes and scams like this one,” said Savage