Michigan Department of Treasury warning of tax scam calls

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LANSING (WJRT) (11/28/2017) - State officials are warning of an uptick in the number of scammers posing as Michigan Department of Treasury employees threatening people about taxes owed.

The scammers are able to change the phone number that shows up on caller ID to an actual Treasury phone line. They often use the names and titles of real Treasury employees.

The scammers claim their victims owe back taxes and could face arrest or legal action if the funds aren't received quickly. Victims are told to pay with a wire transfer, prepaid debit card or gift card.

“Unfortunately, scammers are consistently using new tricks and tactics to take advantage of taxpayers,” said Deputy Treasurer Glenn White, head of Treasury’s Tax Administration Group. “The Michigan Department of Treasury doesn’t initially contact taxpayers through the phone. Our first interaction is generally done by mail.”

According to a statement, the Michigan Department of Treasury will never:

• Initiate a phone call to ask for personal information.

• Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, Treasury will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.

• Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.

• Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.

• Ask for a PIN, password or access codes to your bank accounts or credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

Taxpayers who don’t owe taxes or don’t think they owe taxes should hang up immediately if they receive one of these calls. For individuals who owe taxes or think they do, they can call 517-636-5265 to find out their account balance information.

Taxpayers who have received a call from a scammer should report the case to the IRS by calling 1-800-366-4484.

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