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PA Dept. of Revenue Warning Business Owners of New Scam, Phony Notices | WDIY Local News

Dimitri Karastelev

State officials are warning Pennsylvanians about a new scam targeting business owners, trying to get access to their records. WDIY’s Sarit Laschinsky has more.

The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue says fraudsters are sending fake letters to state business owners, trying to trick them into turning over their accounting records.

The fraudulent letters include the Department of Revenue’s name and logo, and officials say they lead the recipient to believe they are under investigation for failing to pay state taxes.

The letter also threatens taxpayers by saying penalties will be imposed on their account, includes contact information for a “Resolution Officer”, and urges owners to provide records prepared by a licensed professional.

However, the department says the notices do include suspicious and inaccurate details which distinguish them from authentic notices, and has some tips on how to spot the fake:

  • The counterfeit notice does not include a return address. A notice from the Department of Revenue will always include an official Department of Revenue address as the return address.
  • The counterfeit notice addresses the recipient as "Dear Business Owner." When the Department of Revenue attempts to contact a business through a notice in the mail, the notice typically addresses the business owner or business name.
  • The phony notice is very generic and does not include any specific information about the taxpayer's account. Legitimate notices from the Department of Revenue will include specifics, such as an account number and any liability owed, to give the taxpayer as much information as possible.
  • The counterfeit notice is sent by the "Pennsylvania Department of Revenue Tax Investigation & Enforcement Unit" and claims the business is "under investigation by the Pennsylvania State Revenue and Cash Disbursement Unit." While the department does conduct criminal tax investigations and tax enforcement, the units listed on the counterfeit notice are phony. 

Anyone with concerns over a potentially fraudulent notice is asked to visit the department’s Verifying Contact by the Department of Revenue webpage for a verified phone number and contact information, to help ensure they are speaking with a legitimate representative.

(Original air-date: 7/27/22)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky was WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director until 2023.
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