Attorney General Scott Pruitt Friday warned Oklahomans about tax and rebate scams that have netted criminals billions of dollars in bogus federal tax refunds.


“These criminals take advantage of Oklahomans who are simply trying to file their tax returns,” Attorney General Pruitt said. “If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Staying alert and being cautious can help prevent costly mistakes.”


The schemes involve consumers getting a call or an e-mail claiming to be from the IRS, the Social Security Administration, or some other government agency.


Consumers may be asked to provide their social security number, bank account number, or another piece of personal information that a skillful crook can use to commit identity theft. E-mails often include a link for a consumer to click: that link may take the consumer to an official-looking – but phony – website that is simply phishing for the consumer’s information. Or, the link may take the consumer to a legitimate site but install spyware or some other form of malware on the way.


Neither the IRS nor the SSA collects information about government rebate qualifications by telephone or e-mail.


To avoid becoming a victim this tax season, the AG’s Public Protection Unit offers a few tax safety tips:


• Beware of any e-mails claiming to be from the IRS asking for personal information, bank PIN numbers or credit card information. Never respond to these e-mails or open the attachments;


• Be wary of offers to split your refund in exchange for filing your return;


• When you file your taxes electronically use a software provider that is authorized by the IRS. If using a tax preparer, make sure they are authorized to do so by the IRS;


• Look out for unsolicited offers to prepare your taxes from an unfamiliar company or one that is located far away.


If you think you may be at risk or have been a victim of tax fraud, contact the IRS immediately at or the SSA at (800) 772-1213.