New property tax scam targets people by mail

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 5:47 PM EDT
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BLUEFIELD, W.Va. (WVVA) - The Mercer County Sheriff’s Office is warning the public of a new scam targeting people by mail using fake tax letters. A viewer says both he and his wife received separate scam letters in the mail that are almost identical.

The letters claim to be from a tax processing unit in Mercer County. The letters say the viewer and his wife both owe more than $3,400 in property taxes. The viewer said he knew the letters were fake because he knew he paid all of his property taxes. He says he took the letters to the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office and they confirmed the letters were fake.

Lieutenant Steven Sommers with the sheriff’s office says if you receive a letter similar to these you should not give any personal information to numbers on these letters. He says there are simple ways to determine whether or not a letter may be a scam.

“Does it appear to be coming from a reputable source? Does it have the insignia of the government or the county insignia? Does it have the sheriff’s department letter header on it? If it’s the first time from the IRS, local tax, city tax, they’re not going to make immediate demands for payment,” said Sommers.

Sommers says if you have questions about your county tax payments you can contact the sheriff’s office. He adds that if you receive a letter you believe is a scam you can report it to the sheriff’s office and throw it away.

Sommers says people should also be weary of scam calls asking for money. He says his office will never ask for payments over the phone. Sommers says the biggest ways to fight scammers is to confirm information and by educating others on how to identify scams.

Scam tax letter
Scam tax letter(WVVA News)