DETROIT (WWJ) – The Michigan Department of Treasury is reporting an uptick in phone scams — criminals impersonating state tax officials.
Scammers often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like official agencies. They then ask residents to send money via money order or debit card.
“First of all if they haven’t been contacted in writing first, that’s the first clue that it’s not a legitimate call,” Danelle Gittus with the Michigan Department of Treasury told WWJ. “The Michigan Department of Treasury does not generally initiate any kind of debt collection through the phone. They would start that with a mailing first.”
Gittus added that treasury officials would never collect taxes through a money order of debit card as well.
There are certain times in the year that feature a higher rate of phone tax scams. That includes the summer.
Gittus believes after tax season people let their “guards down” and sometimes fall for these tax tricks.
“These types of things happen throughout the year,” Gittus said. “There are certain times of the year where we see an uptick because I think people’s guards are let down a little bit. In the summer we see an uptick of it and obviously during tax season as well.”
Other tips for avoiding tax scams can be found on the State of Michigan’s website.