February 24, 2024

GREAT FALLS — The Cascade County Clerk & Recorder’s Office is warning residents about a scam letter being sent out regarding unwarranted tax payments. In fact, one resident was being asked to pay more than $27,000 plus interest. According to MTN News, Cascade County resident Sue Converse knew something wasn’t right when her 83-year old widowed mother Mary recently received what appeared to be a notice of a tax lien. The letter, which claimed to be from the Cascade County Treasurer, looked very official and even provided a phone number for any questions. However, upon further investigation, it was discovered that the letter was not legitimate and was actually tied to a California-based company called Tax Network USA, which claims to help taxpayers.

Marie Johnson, the Cascade County Deputy Clerk & Recorder, called the toll-free number listed on the letter and found out that it was a scam. The letter falsely stated that Mary owed over $27,000 in taxes and almost $7,000 in interest and penalties. However, Johnson confirmed that Mary had already paid off her tax lien and that it was filed in their office.

“This person already paid off their tax lien and that tax lien is filed in our office and clearly shows that person paid it off,” said Johnson.

The letter also falsely claimed to be affiliated with the Cascade County Clerk and Recorder’s office and the Treasurer’s office. Johnson warned residents to be cautious of such scams and to always verify any suspicious letters or calls with the appropriate government offices.

“I’m just encouraging others if they receive this letter to contact either the Treasurer or the Clerk and Recorder’s office,” said Johnson.

This is not the first time that taxpayers have been targeted by scams. In fact, the IRS has issued multiple warnings about phishing and smishing scams, where scammers attempt to obtain personal information by posing as government agencies. In another recent case, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused a Gilbert man of being a co-owner in an alleged cattle Ponzi scheme. This just goes to show that scams can come in many forms and it’s important to stay vigilant and aware of potential fraud.

In addition to the recent tax scam in Cascade County, there have been other cases of fraud and Ponzi schemes across the country. In Woodbridge, two individuals were accused of fraud after running an invoicing scheme that targeted small businesses. In Moreno Valley, a Ponzi scheme operator pleaded guilty to fraud charges after defrauding investors of millions of dollars. The SEC has also identified eight additional companies for potential Ponzi schemes, further emphasizing the need for caution and awareness when it comes to investments and financial transactions.

To avoid falling victim to scams, the IRS recommends being cautious of unexpected or suspicious correspondence, especially if it involves requests for personal information or payments. They also advise double-checking the legitimacy of any claims by contacting the appropriate government agency directly. In addition, the Better Business Bureau offers tips for identifying and avoiding fake Stanley Cup scams, which have been known to target sports fans.

It’s important to stay informed and educated about potential scams and to always be cautious when it comes to financial transactions. By being aware and taking necessary precautions, we can protect ourselves and our loved ones from falling victim to fraud.

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