Shirkey warns of tax scams

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Mike Shirkey on Friday warned residents of potentially costly phone scams.

“During tax season, there’s an increase in scam phone calls from criminals claiming to be tax officials asking for cash payments through a wire transfer or prepaid debit card,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “We encourage you to be on guard against dishonest practices like these.”

Shirkey said it is helpful to remember what the Michigan Department of Treasury will — and will not — do. He said the agency will never:
•    Initiate a phone call to ask for personal information;
•    Call to demand immediate payment from a prepaid debit card, wire transfer or gift card;
•    Threaten to immediately arrest the taxpayer;
•    Demand that taxes be paid without an opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed; or
•    Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

“If you are at all suspicious of someone calling to take your tax information, hang up and contact the IRS,” Shirkey said.

Taxpayers who receive a call from a scammer should report the case to the IRS by calling 800-366-4484.