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State of California Franchise Tax Board

Tax News
New Tax Scams to Alert your Clients About

With the tax season upon us, we remind you and your clients to be wary of theft ploys involving scammers who attempt to mimic us to obtain access to your personal information.

Do not give out social security, bank, or credit card numbers over the telephone or by email to anyone who cannot verify they are our employees. Have your clients ask the agent to confirm information on the tax notice we mailed to them or hang up and contact us immediately to talk to a live agent.

We heard from people who received phone calls from scammers impersonating the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), telling the “would-be victims” that they owed taxes and, if the taxes not paid, they would be arrested. These scammers also told the taxpayers that the State of California would do the same and about their personal information and how much money they could immediately pay.

This is the second warning we issued in recent months. In October, we alerted the public of a report that scammers contacted elderly people in Beverly Hills and informed them they received a red light traffic ticket that was referred to us for collections. The scammer instructed the victims to load money on a prepaid debit card and send it to a bogus address. The scammer refers victims to an actual FTB phone number
for reference.

Other scammers claim to represent FTB to lure people into revealing personal and financial information. This type of scam is called “phishing” and is aimed at getting personal information to commit identity theft. These types of scams often involve an email that masquerades as an offer to check the status of your state income tax refund.

State Controller John Chiang partnered with nonprofit groups and other state offices to help people understand current scams plaguing consumers and taxpayers. He held more than a dozen events designed specifically to help seniors protect their financial information. For more information about upcoming seminars, go to and search for tax scam seminars.

We take the safety and security of taxpayer information very seriously. If your clients receive a questionable contact from us, they should consider the following:

  • While we call people who owe taxes, we never ask taxpayers for personal identification numbers, passwords, or similar access information for credit cards, bank accounts, or other financial information.
  • If your client knows they don't owe taxes or never receive a billing notice from us your client can verify account information by accessing MyFTBAccount or calling us directly at 800.852.5711 to review their account.
  • Our criminal investigators never solicit payment from debtors under the threat of incarceration. 
  • We do not have the ability to process funds from third-party issued debit cards, prepaid credit cards, or wire transfers.
  • Taxpayers should only make state tax payments to us through our normal payment channels: online Web Pay or credit card services; or by mail with personal check, money order, cashier's check, or Western Union Quick Collect payments.

Taxpayers may also visit one of our field offices for assistance. All field offices accept payments by personal check, money order, or cashier’s check. We accept only credit card payments at our Los Angeles and Oakland Offices. We accept only cash payments at our San Diego, Santa Ana, San Francisco, and Sacramento Offices.

Back to March 2014 Tax News

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