Maryland warns of potential scam targeting residents behind on taxes

Maryland courts are warning residents about what they call a deceptive letter being sent to people who are behind on their taxes.

The letters threaten people with the seizure of bank accounts and property, and even arrest, if the recipient doesn’t call a number on it and pay their debts, according to Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Clerk Scott Poyer.

“These letters look very official,” Poyer said.

The letters include words such as “warrant” and appear to come from the Anne Arundel County Courthouse but are postmarked Denver, Poyer said.

“It is not coming from the courthouse. We would never ask you to call or send money to a private company,” Poyer said.

Officials warn the phone number doesn’t go to the courthouse; it goes to a private firm. Poyer said state tax liens are public record, and it’s assumed those records are being used in the creation of the letters.

Poyer added that the letters do indicate that it’s not from the government or IRS, but that is only found at the bottom in very small print.

“Whether it’s a scam or deceptive advertising, I’ll let the enforcement authorities make that decision,” he said.

The Maryland comptroller and the state’s attorney general’s office are investigating the letters. In the meantime, Poyer said, he wants residents to be aware of the mailings.

“If they get one of these and it’s not coming from the courts, ignore it,” he said.

Anyone with questions about the letters or who wants to report a potential scam can call the Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division at 410-528-8662, or call toll-free at 888-743-0023.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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