New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is urging caution as residents get ready to file their tax returns.
Schneiderman says tax time is a prime time for shady tax preparers to steal personal and financial information from consumers.Schneiderman say extremely low rates advertised for tax preparation services should serve as a red flag. The A.G. says consumers should seek out reputable firms that have real offices and real phone numbers, not just something listed on the internet and never sign a blank tax return.

Scheiderman says every year, the attorney general's offices around the state get complaints from consumers about tax preparation schemes. Some scammers prey on seniors or college students. Others have even turned to spoofing technology to make their calls to residents come up in caller ID as appearing to be from the IRS.

For tax tips, go to www.ag.ny.gov or check out a preparer's history through the better business bureau at www.bbb.org.

Complaints about tax preparation fraud in New York State can be filed at the attorney general's website or by calling 1 (800) 771-7755.