RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Your state tax refund may take longer to get to you than in years past due to changes in the way those refunds are processed and it has some people unhappy.
“This year we have a longer time to file, a longer tax season– and a lot of scams are out there in general already,” said Alex Hammerstone, a cybersecurity expert with TrustedSec.
It’s those new security threats that are prompting the North Carolina Department of Revenue to put a notice on its webpage which says “Due to enhanced identity theft protection measures, some refunds may take longer than normal–which is 6 weeks for electronically filed returns and 12 weeks for paper returns.”
“It’s an unfortunate situation for someone in need of that money,” said Raleigh resident Jeff Callahan. “There’s a lot of people really hurting.”
Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia wanted to know more about the enhanced measures and why they would be causing delays, but the department of revenue didn’t respond to his email asking for details.
If the state thinks this is the best-case scenario to protect our money, I can see where they are coming from,” said Elaina Edwards. “But, with COVID-19 happening, it’s the most inconvenient time for a lot of people to have their refund withheld.”
CBS 17 wanted to know the kinds of tax scams are out there this year, so Sbraccia sought out a cybersecurity expert to find out more.
“With new tax laws, it’s much easier to trick people because they don’t know what the laws or rules are,” said Hammerstone.
With electronic filing so much more common, criminals are trying to beat you to the punch by filing a return in your name before you do.
Hammerstone says scammers also will infect your computer using a tax return threat scheme as a way to extort you.
“They’re using ransomware and threatening to send fake tax documents to the IRS and get you into trouble if you don’t pay them,” he said.
Despite the criminals using cyberspace to scam you, he said the internet is still your best option for filing.
“In general, electronic filing is pretty safe for people actually filing,” Hammerstone said.
There are scores of tax season scams out there, so to help you protect yourself you can go here.
That link will tell you about how many of those scams operate and also outlines ways to avoid them.