Sen. Proos warns residents about summer tax scams

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Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos is warning Southwest Michigan families that cybercriminals are increasingly using summer tax scams that include impersonating state or federal tax officials, claiming residents owe taxes and demanding immediate payment.

“Scam artists are becoming bolder in their demands and cleverer in disguising who they are,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “I urge all Southwest Michigan taxpayers to look out for phone tax scams this summer, especially targeted populations, like our seniors.

“The best way to protect yourself from these schemes is to never give out credit or debit card numbers or other sensitive information to anyone claiming to be from the IRS or the Department of Treasury. They will never ask for that information over the phone.”

The Michigan Department of Treasury says that it typically observes scam phone calls throughout the summer where scammers make unsolicited calls claiming to be tax officials and asking for cash through a wire transfer, prepaid debit card or gift card.

The scammers may leave “urgent” callback requests through robocalls or phishing emails and alter caller ID numbers to make it look like Treasury or the IRS is calling. Victims who refuse to pay the amount they are told they owe are often threatened with arrest or legal action.

“Both state and federal tax officials will never initially contact residents by phone demanding immediate payment, and they will never threaten to call the police to arrest you for not paying,” Proos said. “If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the Treasury or IRS and asking for personal information or threatening you in any way, hang up! It’s a fraud.”

Residents who suspect they have received a call from a scammer should report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration or call the hotline at 800-366-4484.

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Editor’s note — Audio comments by Proos will be available later at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.