February 27, 2020

Arenac County Sheriff gives tips on avoiding scams during tax season


ARENAC COUNTY— Tax season has begun and as tax-related identity theft awareness week ends, Sheriff James Mosciski of the Arenac County Sheriff Department shares some tips on how to avoid scams.

According to information from a press release from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses stolen personal information, including but not limited to, an individual’s Social Security number to file a phony tax return and claim the refund. 

“Something that is going on right now is IRS calls,” said Mosciski. “The IRS will never make a phone call, they will contact you by mail or in person.”  

Mosciski said if IRS census takers come to your door, to make sure they have a proper ID with a picture before giving out any personal information. 

“Never give personal information out over the phone,” said Mosciski. Don’t give out credit card information or social security number and if you pay bills online or are filing a tax return online, make sure the network is secure. It is better to use a private network than a public one. 

Another phone scam going around uses local numbers to try to earn credibility with their victims. Sheriff Mosciski said if anyone calls and asks for money, warranty for vehicle, or medicare and medicaid information, it is a scam. “No one is going to give you free money,” Mosciski said. 

According to the press release from the Attorney General, the IRS will never call taxpayers with threats of lawsuits or arrests, nor will they ask you to wire money, pay with a gift card or prepaid debit card, or share your credit card information over the phone. 

Mosciski said scammers will prey on the elderly and call and say their grandchild is in jail or was involved in an accident and they need to send money to bail them out. 

There was an incident in Houghton Lake where a man got scammed out of $30,000, said Mosciski. Scammers told him he would be arrested if he didn’t send money, so he complied and sent $10,000 in gift cards and $20,000 in cash, according to reports from ABC12. 

Mosciski said to contact the sheriff’s department if you are suspicious or if you feel you received a scam call. He said if you feel you already have been scammed, to still contact the department and they can make some phone calls and try to stop it. 

Nessel reminds the public that “even if a false refund is claimed and issued in your name, identity scammers do not actually steal “your” refund. If you are legally entitled to a tax refund, being a verified victim of tax-related identity theft will not change that. Your refund may be delayed, but you will, eventually, get your refund.”


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