Don't fall for a 'Final Demand for Payment' letter this tax season

Erin McCarthy, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Business News

Scam artists are trying to take advantage of Pennsylvania taxpayers with a phony letter claiming to be "final demand for payment" on a lien.

It's a recurring scam that has been reported to the commonwealth's Department of Revenue, which on Monday warned residents not to become the next victim.

"We want Pennsylvanians to remember four simple words: Don't take the bait," acting Revenue Secretary Pat Browne said in a statement. "Take a moment to think over the situation and make sure that you're taking the proper steps to ensure that any notice you receive in the mail is legitimate."

Every tax season, people nationwide receive fake emails, calls, and letters. Con artists pretend to be IRS agents or other government officials and claim recipients owe money.

This latest scam letter targeting Pennsylvanians asks residents to call a number or risk wage garnishment and property or asset seizure.

Red flags consumers should look for

1. The notice says it was sent by the "Tax Assessment Procedures Domestic Judgment Registry." (This agency does not exist.)

2. It doesn't come with a return address (which is always included on legitimate mail from the Department of Revenue).


3. It says the unpaid taxes are owed to the "State of Pennsylvania" (not the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or Department of Revenue).

4. It does not include any specific information about the taxpayer's account.

Official correspondence from the commonwealth's Department of Revenue would include detailed information, including the taxpayer's account number and liability owed, as well as multiple ways to contact the department directly.

What to do if you receive a letter

The department reminded Pennsylvanians to never give personal information or money to any entity that contacts you directly, unless you have confirmed it is legitimate. Scam notices often arrive unexpectedly and include vague but urgent language, demanding payment immediately.

If residents are unsure whether the person contacting them really works for the department, they can call its Customer Experience Center at 717-425-2495 ext. 72267 with the name and phone number of the purported representative.

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