Beware of seasonal tax scams

Published 9:09 am Thursday, February 11, 2016

Well, the scams are going full strength now that it’s tax season. So far this morning, as I am typing this article, I have received eight phone calls within the past two hours of the current “IRS” or “Treasury Department” scam.

Callers have reported that they received voicemail or answering machine messages (they did not recognize the number and let the voicemail or machine get the call). The message states that the caller is from either the IRS or the Treasury Department. They are calling because the potential victim owes back taxes. Failure to return the call is a felony and the local police will be notified. So far, only one person actually called back, knowing he doesn’t owe any back taxes and advised the possible suspect that the call was being recorded. The bad guy hung up.

Just a few safety tips for these calls:

• Official federal or state agencies will not call and solicit funds or personal information.

• Do not give out ANY personal information (social security number, birthdates, bank info, etc).

• It’s ok to hang up if you are actually speaking to a person.

• We will not arrest you for not returning that phone call.

As long as there is not a financial loss, there isn’t an investigation we will be doing. We do keep the phone numbers for investigative reasons if it goes that far. We ask you remain vigilant, tell family and friends if they don’t recognize the number, don’t feel they have to answer. Let the voicemail or answering machine get it.

Along with this scam, another MSP Post has had issues with a scammer who claims to be calling on behalf of the local school’s “Education Association.” The caller is being described as a man with a “middle eastern accent,” attempting to solicit funds from the scam victim. If a local school is doing a fundraiser, it is usually advertised locally so the public is aware. This particular school had no fundraising or need for the solicitation.

Readers, be aware of anything that sounds too good to be true or “easy money.” If you know you don’t owe anything be cautious of someone trying to get money to “make the issue go away”

Be aware!


Rob Herbstreith is a community service trooper with the Michigan State Police Niles post. Questions or comments can be emailed to