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News Release

For Immediate Release
March 20, 2009

Contact:
Associate Attorney General Richard Head
(603) 271-1248

Attorney General Warns of Identity Theft Scams in New Hampshire

Cyber Thieves are at it again. Attorney General Kelly Ayotte announced two identity theft advisory warnings today.

Attorney General Ayotte reminds consumers that as April 15th approaches, they should be on the lookout for tax-related scams. Each year, the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau receives complaints about scams where consumers receive e-mails and faxes seeking personal information allegedly for the purpose of processing refunds or other purposes. These e-mails and faxes will typically look like authentic IRS forms and correspondence. Most recently, a scam IRS fax targeted "non-resident aliens" and asked them to provide personal information, including the name and address of their bank, account number, social security number and asked for copies of their passports. Ayotte warns consumers not to fall for any e-mail or fax scams. If you need to contact a business or agency, obtain the contact information from a reliable source. Never reply to requests made for personal information in unsolicited e-mails, faxes, telephone calls or mail.

The Internal Revenue Service does not ask for detailed personal information by e-mail, Attorney General Ayotte emphasized. "Scam artists can reproduce the IRS insignia perfectly, so you cannot rely on the official looking appearance of the e-mail," she said. Ayotte strongly encourages citizens to visit the Internal Revenue Service Web site dedicated to recognizing bogus IRS phishing e-mails. This is located at www.irs.gov/privacy. "Consumers should be alert about receiving mail or e-mails similar to this from other governmental or private agencies that appear genuine." Ayotte said.

Consumers who wish to check on the status of their refunds can visit the IRS Web site at: and click on "Where's My Refund". Consumers may forward tax related e-mails or faxes to phishing@irs.gov, the address established by the IRS to receive, track, and shut down these scams.

The Attorney General also issued a second advisory warning consumers to beware of pre-recorded telephone calls advising them that their credit card has been compromised. The pre-recorded message states that the message is being distributed on behalf of a valid bank, credit union or other credit card issuer, and requests consumers to confirm or reactivate their credit card by entering their credit card number on the telephone keypad. Consumers with caller identification on their phones will see the name and phone number of a legitimate business. Unfortunately, it is relatively easy masquerade as a legitimate business on caller identification.

Attorney General Ayotte offers the following recommendations to consumers to avoid falling victim to these scams:

  • Do not respond to e-mails asking for information relating to tax refunds. The IRS's Web site is the only legitimate source for checking on refund status.
  • Do not let anyone purporting to be an agent for the IRS into your home unless he or she has proper identification.
  • Research charities before sending them money and do not respond to e-mail solicitations for money.
  • Do not give your checking or credit card account information to anyone unless you initiated the contact.
  • Do not assume the phone number appearing on your caller ID is correct.
  • If you have doubts about the caller, hang up and contact the company using a phone number of record. Do not call back to a number provided by the caller.

Consumers may also file complaints about unfair or deceptive practices by filing a complaint with the Attorney General's Office online at www.doj.nh.gov/consumer.

In addition, a copy of the New Hampshire Consumer Sourcebook can be obtained on the Attorney General's Web site.


New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301
Telephone: 603-271-3658