Crooks targeting Michiganders in tax collection scam — Here's what to know

scam in the mail
Photo credit Getty Images - FILE

(WWJ) Whether it's by phone, email or at your front door, there are all kinds of scams to watch out for these days. This one comes in your mailbox.

Michigan taxpayers with past-due tax debts are told be aware of an "aggressive" scam that’s making the rounds through the U.S. Postal Service, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury.

In the scheme, taxpayers receive a letter about an overdue tax bill, asking individuals to immediately contact a toll-free number to resolve an outstanding state tax debt. The letter aggressively threatens to seize a taxpayer’s property ― including bank accounts, wages, business assets, cars, real estate and cash ― if the debt is not settled.

“Over the last week, we have seen an uptick in reports of taxpayers receiving these letters,” said Deputy State Treasurer Ann Good, who oversees Treasury’s Financial and Administrative Services programs. “Taxpayers have rights. If you have questions about an outstanding state tax debt, please contact us through a verified number so we can talk about options.”

The letter, officials say, appears credible because it uses specific personal facts pulled directly from publicly available information. The scammer’s letter attempts to lure the taxpayer into a situation where they could make a payment to a criminal.

Keep in mind: The Michigan Treasury Department corresponds with taxpayers through official letters that use state of Michigan letterhead that embody both the names of the governor and state treasurer. These official letters are sent through USPS provide several options to resolve an outstanding debt and outline taxpayer rights.

Taxpayers who receive a letter from a scammer or have questions about their state debts should call Treasury’s Collections Service Center at 517-636-5265. A customer service representative can log the scam, verify outstanding state debts and provide flexible payment options.

To learn more about Michigan’s taxes and the collections process, go to www.michigan.gov/taxes or follow the state Treasury Department on Twitter at @MITreasury.