Treasurer warns of scam letters

CASSOPOLIS — A scam that has been on-going in Michigan for more than a year has now reached Cass County, according to Cass County Treasurer Hope Anderson.

In April 2019, the Michigan Department of Treasury warned taxpayers with past-due tax debts should be aware of an aggressive scam making the rounds through the U.S. Postal Service. In the scheme, taxpayers receive what appears to be a government-looking letter about an overdue tax bill, asking individuals to immediately contact a toll-free number to resolve a state tax debt. The letter aggressively threatens to seize a taxpayer’s assets – including property and Social Security benefits – if the state tax debt is not settled.

Described as a “tricky scam” by Deputy State Treasurer Ann Good, the piece of correspondence appears credible to the taxpayer because it uses specific personal facts about the outstanding tax debt 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.

Now, Anderson wants to warn Cass County residents of the scam, as a county resident informed her Wednesday he received a letter from a scammer.

Taxpayers are encouraged to remember their rights and to contact the treasury through a verified number, should they have questions about outstanding state tax debt or if they believe they have received a letter from a scammer. The number for the Treasury’s Collections Service Center is (517) 636-5265.

“I would like to let the public know that they can call my office or the Michigan Department of Treasury if they receive any notices that pertain to their property taxes,” Anderson said.

Cass County Delinquent Property Tax Information is also available online at casscountymi.org.

The County Treasurer’s Office is available by phone at (269) 445-4468 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.