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Upsurge in email scams

State Controller and FTB Chair John Chiang recently warned taxpayers to protect their personal information and treat any unsolicited emails with caution, and to contact FTB immediately if they have any concerns. State Controller Chiang issued this warning in response to several email scams currently circulating.

Phishing

An email masquerading as an offer to check the status of your client’s state income tax refund is actually “phishing” for taxpayer data. Scams of this nature attempt to lure people into revealing personal and financial information, such as bank account, credit card, or Social Security numbers, which may be used to steal that taxpayer's identity.

Phony audits

The second scam involves a phony letter informing the taxpayer that his or her tax return may be audited. The letter refers the taxpayer to a phony FTB address in Georgia. Both the email and the letter contain misspellings and grammatical errors. Taxpayers who receive such a notice should contact FTB at 800.852.5711.

Bogus corporate fee

In this scheme, corporations receive a letter from a "Compliance Annual Minutes Board" citing California Corporation Code Sections (1500, 600, 9510), and asking letter recipients to pay an "annual fee" of $150. The sender's address is PO Box 9011 Temecula, CA 92589. This letter is not from the State of California, and corporations are not required to file “annual minutes” with the non-existent “Annual Minutes Board.” If your clients receive such a letter, they are under no obligation to respond.

FTB has several policies in place to protect the safety and security of taxpayer information. We never collect confidential taxpayer information through email or phone solicitation. Taxpayers should never provide personal information over the telephone or via email to persons who cannot verify they are FTB employees.