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Vermont officials warn about tax scams as deadline nears

BARRE, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont's top law enforcement officer and the head of the state tax department warned residents on Monday to be wary of scams during tax season.

Attorney General T.J. Donovan said a typical tax scam involves a telephone call from someone claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service, the IRS or the U.S. Treasury and Legal Affairs, often making up something that sounds official and seeking "back taxes."

"Vermonters should be on the lookout for IRS tax scams over the next two weeks," Donovan said.

This year's tax filing deadline is April 18.

Cheryl Willette, of Roxbury, said she received a phone call and wasn't sure if it was from the real IRS or not.

"I ended up having multiple calls with threatening people before I figured it all out," Willette said. "It was a very scary experience."

Donovan was joined at the Barre event highlighting the dangers of tax fraud by Vermont Tax Commissioner Kaj Samsom and others.

Samsom said that since 2013 the state has prevented more than $3 million in fraudulent tax refunds.

If there is a problem with a tax return, or a tax is past due, the department's first step will be to send a letter via U.S. mail, he said.

People who receive calls they believe to be fraudulent should hang up immediately.