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600 E. Boulevard Ave.
  Bismarck, ND 58505-0599
  701.328.7088 phone
  701.328.3700 fax
  877.328.7088 toll-free
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Rick Clayburgh, Tax Commissioner 701-328-2770
July 9, 2003 Jill Weigel, Supervisor, Individual Income Tax, 701-328-3277

Tax Department Warns of Tax Refund Scam

BISMARCK --- Tax Commissioner Rick Clayburgh warned taxpayers today of a fraudulent scheme currently circulating that attempts to trick taxpayers into divulging taxpayer identity and banking information.

Commissioner Clayburgh said, "Taxpayers who provide the requested information risk having their identity and bank account stolen."

In this scam, a caller claims to be from US Bank, and indicates that the North Dakota Tax Commissioner's Office is attempting to wire a refund to the taxpayer's bank account. The caller then asks for the taxpayer's Employer Identification Number (EIN).

"The Tax Department was just informed of the scam from a taxpayer," said Clayburgh. "In this particular instance, the taxpayer asked the caller for their phone number and then indicated that he would call the caller back. The caller gave the number as 1 800 US BANK and promptly hung up."

Clayburgh advised taxpayers who receive a suspicious call to be cautious about providing personally identifying information that a financial institution should already possess. Instead of providing the information, taxpayers are encouraged to obtain a phone number from the caller. And, if the taxpayer has any questions about the validity of the call, they should contact their financial institution using a local phone number to confirm the transfer attempt.

Clayburgh urged taxpayers who receive the suspicious call to notify the North Dakota Attorney General's Office and their financial institution about the attempted scam. Those who have already been victimized by this scheme may want to contact their creditors, banks, and other financial institutions to report the attempted identity and financial theft.

"Because taxpayers often request the Tax Department to deposit tax refunds directly into the taxpayer's bank accounts," said Clayburgh, "taxpayers may want to verify directly with the Tax Department that a direct deposit has been attempted."

Clayburgh added that taxpayers who receive a suspicious call should also immediately contact the Tax Department because the call could be valid. Taxpayers may reach the Tax Department at 701-328-3277 or through e-mail at taxinfo@state.nd.us.

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