James D. Lynch
“Distraint Warrant” Scam
Scammers are sending threatening tax letters all over the country to prey on unsuspecting individuals. The letter claims to be a “Distraint Warrant” for back taxes. It is an official-looking letter that appears to be sent from the county government office where the addressee resides.
The warrant doesn’t threaten arrest. Rather, it claims the distraint warrant serves the same function as a court settlement and demands immediate payment of tens of thousands of dollars. The letter threatens garnishment of wages and bank accounts, property seizure, federal tax refund offset, and the creation of a property lien unless the addressee calls the phone number on the letter to pay the alleged back taxes.
Sheriffs’ offices across the country are reassuring residents that the letter is fake and that anyone receiving a letter like this should report it to their local law enforcement agency.