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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  October 18, 2007
MEDIA CONTACT:  Randolph Yunker  (516) 571-5048

LEVINSON WARNS OF NEW IDENTITY FRAUD SCAM WITH STAR REBATE CHECKS

(Mineola, NY)  Board of Assessors Chairman Harvey Levinson today warned homeowners not to respond to e-mails or telephone calls requesting social security, date of birth, and credit information to process this year’s STAR rebate check.

The scam was first reported in the Town of Liberty by its assessor.  Chairman Levinson urges any homeowner who receives a telephone call or e-mail communication requesting personal information to process the STAR rebate check to contact local law enforcement officials.   Verizon has a call tracing service that can be activated by pressing *57 after the call is received.  Once reported, homeowners should contact Verizon’s business office (1-877-TRACE 4U) and the police for further instructions.

"While I am unaware of this scam being perpetrated in Nassau County, I do want homeowners to take extra care in protecting their personal information," stated Chairman Levinson.

For over a year, Mr. Levinson has been urging state lawmakers and the governor to scrap the STAR rebate check and apply the increase in the savings as a credit on the existing STAR program.  Not only does the applied credit save the state millions of dollars each year to offset the mailing and administrative processing of over three million checks, it saves homeowners the additional burden of having to pay income taxes on the rebate if they itemize deductions.

"The deadline for filing the '2007 Middle Class STAR Property Tax Rebate Program' is November 30, 2007," Levinson stated.  "Filing can be completed easily on-line through the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance’s secure website at www.nystax.gov ."

If you have any questions about the rebate check application process or would like to check on the status of a missing or redrafted check, Chairman Levinson urges homeowners to contact the Department of Taxation and Finance at 1-877-6STAR NY (1-877-678-2769).