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Scam involving tax debt resolution vexing residents

State and federal officials are reporting a dangerous scam that arrives in potential victims’ homes in official-looking envelopes asking recipients to dial a toll-free number as a first step in resolving 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.

“This is a tricky scam that’s been reported throughout the state over the past year,” Deputy State Treasurer Ann Good, who oversees the Michigan Treasury Department’s Financial and Administrative Services programs, said in a widely distributed press release. “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 appears credible to the taxpayer because it uses specific personal facts about their real outstanding tax debt that’s 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.

The state Treasury Department corresponds with taxpayers through official letters sent through the U.S. Postal Service, providing several options to resolve an outstanding debt and information outlining 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 payment options.

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