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Be wary of tax scams, says local resident

by JENNIFER WRIGHT
Staff Writer | May 16, 2024 1:00 AM

Area residents might want to watch their mail boxes for Internal Revenue Service collection or lien settlement scams. Recently, collection notices appearing to be from the IRS or the state of Idaho have been found in mail boxes in Boundary County. 

One recipient, who got notices over a period of several months, said the scammers claimed the state over $8,000. Because they owed money and had a lien, the intended victim said they were waiting until they could pay it before responding. 

That was when the person said they  logged into their Taxpayer Access Point account to access their state  taxes and noticed the amount was less than $3,000.

The individual called the Idaho Tax Commission, where an agent told them they only owed what was shown on the TAP account. 

On the advice of the ITC agent, the person said they called the number on the letter and asked  where the remainder of the amount owed was coming from, they were told “we’re done here” and hung up.

Now even more certain it was an attempted scam, the Boundary County resident collected all of the letters, and discovered each one was a little bit different. To be safe, the recipient called the Boundary County Treasurer to see if they owed any taxes and  were assured that they did not owe anything.

The individual spoke to the Herald, asking their name not be used, but said they wanted to warn others of the scam.

“In today’s world scams have become so common, it’s almost impossible to not have come across someone trying to steal your money,” the person told the Herald. “The internet is chalk full of scammers, as are phone scams, the mail has had its share but with the rise of the internet how easy it is to steal from people over the web, the mail scams have dwindled.”

The recipient showed Bonners Ferry Police Chief Willie Cowell, who encouraged anyone receiving similar letters to report them to local law enforcement.

Cpl Randall of the Boundary County Sheriff’s Office said that there isn’t much they can do unless money is actually stolen, but said scam attempts can be reported to the FBI website, fbi.gov/how-we-can-help-you/scams-and-safety.

In hindsight, the individual said there were red flags indicating something was off from the beginning such as  no address on some, different phone numbers, and that the letters did not come from state of Idaho or the IRS.

“It is important to get this information out, because who knows how many people will simply pay this instead of looking into it,” the local resident said.