Deputies warn of new tax scam ahead of filing deadline

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - A tax scam that's hit other parts of the country has made its way to the Mid-Ohio Valley. The timing couldn't be worse as the tax filing deadline is just days away.

Steve Sandifer, an enrolled agent based in Vienna, said one of his clients received a "distraint warrant" letter in the mail. He said he knew it was a scam as soon as he saw it, but that may not be the case for everyone.

"We've had phone calls, we've had things sent over the internet and now that these sophisticated scammers are using the mail, it just heightens the amount of fear from some of the taxpayers because they really don't know what's right," Sandifer said.

The distraint warrant stated the warrant was issued because the person's tax debt was not paid in full. It said it was not an arrest warrant, but rather a judgment against the debtor and is a lien on any property now owned or acquired in the future until the debt is paid in full. The letter went on to say it was sent due to unpaid taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.

"This is the first time we've seen it here in the Mid-Ohio Valley," said Chief Deputy Robert Sims of the Wood County Sheriff's Office.

He advises to be wary of the scam because anyone is susceptible.

"Take the time, look up the agency that you supposedly owe money to call them yourself and talk to them, don't fall for the bait that's in this letter because that's all this is," Deputy Sims said.

The letter also stated the person must respond by the due date listed on the letter, pay in full, or call them to avoid action. Officials say do not call that number.

"Once they call that number, the scammers now have their personal telephone number they've locked it in, they can go online they can do a search or reverse phone call look up on that phone number and they can find out who owns the phone number so they now know who called who is scared and who makes a better target," Sandifer said.

The deadline to file your taxes is Monday, April 15.




 
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