LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos on Thursday warned Southwest Michigan families that criminals are using a cloned Department of Treasury office telephone number out of Grand Rapids to call residents and claim they owe taxes.
“Scam artists are becoming more bold and clever in disguising their fraudulent activity and are increasingly targeting vulnerable populations, like our seniors,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “I urge all Southwest Michigan taxpayers to look out for this new phone scam and pass along this information to their family and friends.”
Under the scam, victims are told they owe money and that it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses, they are threatened with arrest, legal action or suspension of a business.
“The Department of Treasury will never demand immediate payment without first mailing you a letter, and they will never threaten to call the police to arrest you for not paying,” Proos said. “Anyone contacting you claiming to be from the Treasury and asking for personal information or threatening you in any way is a fraud. Hang up and report it.”
Proos said that the Treasury will not require that residents pay taxes a certain way or ask for personal financial information like PIN numbers, passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other accounts.
Residents who suspect that they are being contacted as part of this fraud should request the caller’s name, a call-back number and their specific location. Then residents should hang up and call the Department of Treasury at (517) 636-5265 to determine if the caller is truly a Treasury employee.
Anyone who believes they have been a victim of this scam may report it by contacting Proos’ office at (517) 373-6960.
Proos said his office has been able to help constituents facing these types of scams get the help they need to straighten things out and protect themselves in the future.
Editor’s note – Audio comments by Proos are available on the senator’s webpage at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.