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Comptroller Franchot Alerts Marylanders to Social Media Scam

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (June 6, 2018) - Reinforcing his commitment to protect Marylanders, Comptroller Peter Franchot today warned Maryland residents about a scam in which cyber thieves contact citizens via social media using an official-looking certificate about a large sum of money for a fee.

The scammers send messages using the Comptroller of Maryland and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) logos on an official looking "Certificate of Completion." Recipients then are told they can access the money for a fee. Neither the Comptroller's Office nor the IRS use social media to contact taxpayers in regard to tax matters or financial issues.

"Cyber thieves will go to any length to get taxpayers' money, identity or financial information," Comptroller Peter Franchot said. "This new scam is just the latest in a long line. As we investigate these cases, I want to warn everyone not to fall victim to unknown contacts who make promises that seem too good to be true. My office would never use social media to contact a taxpayer about a tax matter or financial issue. If you are contacted in this way, don't reply, be cautious and notify my agency's FED officers immediately."

The Comptroller's Office warns taxpayers to not reply to messages or emails requesting money, confidential information – especially your Social Security number – birth date, salary information or home address. If you receive a suspicious message or email, please call 1-800-MD-TAXES or email

"Unfortunately, the availability and ease of use of technology allows criminals to convincingly deceive the public," said Jeff Kelly, director of the Comptroller's Field Enforcement Division."Our agents investigate these incidents and do everything possible to bring these scammers to justice. We ask the public to contact the Comptroller’s Office before sending money or sharing personal information."

MEDIA CONTACTS:  Joseph Shapiro -
                                        410-260-7305 (office); 443-871-2244 (mobile)

Alan Brody -
                                        410-260-6346 (office); 443-924-1473 (mobile)