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Authentic-looking tax scam attempting to steal thousands from Tooele residents

Posted at 4:39 PM, Jul 06, 2023

TOOELE, Utah — A new scam circling around Tooele County attempts to trick property owners into thinking they owe tens of thousands of dollars.

It's all based on a fake letter that appears to look professional, which is why the state tax commission is concerned.

"This is the first one I’ve seen, so that’s what raised my eyebrows a little bit because normally property tax is kind of not one they really go after," said Jason Gardner with the Utah State Tax Commission.

The letter sent June 23 claims there’s a judgment filed the person who received it for unpaid taxes. It includes the estimated penalty and interest costs, and says they owe over $46,000.

"That’s when you’ve got to start asking questions. Because if it’s out of nowhere, chances are there is something not legit about it," explained Darren Hotton, the program director with the Division of Aging and Adult Services.

Hotton says older Utahns are typically the target for expensive scams.

"The high dollar amounts are seniors because they have it and they’re easy to trust," he said.

There are a few typos sprinkled in the letter, along with the wrong logo, a fake Tooele County notice number and a phone number.

"Go to their website and see if that number appears anywhere on their website," urged Gardner. "If it doesn’t, you should start questioning it a little bit further."

A call placed to the phone number in the letter consisted of a eight minute conversation with a woman who told FOX 13 News that she works for a group of licensed tax practitioners. When pressed further, the woman gave an illegitimate website that couldn't be found online.