(The Center Square) – The Spokane County Treasurer’s Office is warning taxpayers about a mail scam that demands payment of phony tax debt.
According to a news release from Treasurer Michael Baumgartner, the scam involves sending people a letter that claims to be from the “Tax Resolution Unit” of the county. The letter threatens garnishment, property seizure, or a lien on the property if fraudulent fees aren’t paid.
The letter, said Baumgartner, does not come from his office.
“This type of mailer is, unfortunately, a common way that scammers intimidate victims into either paying fraudulent fees or revealing personal information about their finances and bank accounts,” he said in a written statement. “Scammers are clever, but we can fight back. We do that by building trust with our taxpayers, and by being as transparent as possible about what kind of mail we send out in our county, and what kind of language we use. Taxpayers unsure about mail they receive regarding tax debts should feel free to reach out to our office for clarification.”
A resident reportedly alerted the local office about the letter, which included several official-looking features. That letter was postmarked from Sacramento, California, and its return address included a “Public Judgement Records” department., which Baumgartner says does not exist in Spokane County.
Inside, a memo addressed to the recipient detailed an alleged tax debt owed to “Federal Tax Authorities.” The letter concluded with an (800) phone number for the person to call in order to avoid enforcement action.
The county does not collect or enforce any kind of federal taxes, said Baumgartner.
Correspondence from his office typically includes the official seal of the Treasurer of Spokane County and a local return address.
For questions about correspondence concerning taxes, visit Baumgartner’s page on the county website at spokanecounty.org/910/FAQs, or call 509-477-4713.