SALEM, Ore.— It’s never safe to let down your guard, warns the Oregon Department of Revenue. Scam tactics are always evolving and becoming more effective.
Recently, an Oregon taxpayer visited the department’s Medford office because they received a letter—supposedly from Jackson County—demanding tens of thousands of dollars to resolve their “debt.” At first glance, the letter appeared official, but it turned out to be another tactic scammers are using to trick people into giving them money or personal information.
The best way for taxpayers to make payments directly to the Department of Revenue is through Revenue Online. It’s secure and includes all the information necessary to ensure the payment is properly applied to the correct account. Go directly to oregon.gov/dor to find Revenue Online. Payment providers may provide links that appear to take you to the government site, but just end up taking you to another area of the provider’s site.
Scams mainly come in the form of a phone call, email, or standard mail. Here are some tips to help you identify scam attempts.
- Scammers make unsolicited calls. Thieves call taxpayers claiming to be representatives of the Oregon Department of Revenue or other tax officials. They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill and may use threats or a sense of urgency to con the victim into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. The Department of Revenue never uses methods like these when making calls. Hang up on suspicious phone calls. No matter how urgent a message makes a situation sound, you can always hang up, call the Department of Revenue at their published phone numbers [(503) 378-4988 or (800) 356-4222 (toll-free)], and know that you’re dealing with an actual government employee.
- Scammers send letters. Letters often contain legitimate logos, addresses, and phone numbers to fool you. Sometimes, these letters expose themselves as scams through blurry logos, misspellings, and poor grammar. Letters are usually in the form of a fake tax bill or claiming an error with your account. Letters from the Department of Revenue will have information that is verifiable through our website and every letter is printed with an identification number in the upper right corner.
- Scammers set up fake websites. Some scams that start as unsolicited calls or letters may also try to send you to fake websites. These websites are designed to look like and official federal or state agency site. Remember that the Oregon Department of Revenue’s web address will always begin with an “https://” designation and be from the “.gov” extension. Look for these in the web address when entering financial information to make sure you’re dealing with us directly.
For more information on protecting yourself or what to do if you’re a victim of identity theft, visit:
You can visit http://www.oregon.gov/dor to get forms, check the status of your refund, or make payments. You can call (503) 378-4988 or (800) 356-4222 (toll-free) or email email@example.com for additional assistance. For TTY for hearing- or speech-impaired, call (800) 886-7204.