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    Fraud Alert – Distraint Warrant scam

    submitted by Michael D. Bannon, Director, Bucks County Consumer Protection / Weights & Measures

    The Bucks County Department of Consumer Protection would like to make Bucks County residents and businesses aware of an emerging scam targeting area residents and businesses alike. Letters have been sent through the US Postal Service in official looking envelopes claiming to be from the “Benefits Suspension Unit, Bucks County, Public Judgment Records.”

    The envelope attempts to scare residents to respond by stating “Immediate Action Required.”

    There is no such county agency and this is an attempt to scam consumers and businesses into paying a fake tax debt.

    The enclosed letter has a heading claiming to be from the “Tax Processing Unit, Bucks County Public, Judgment Records.”

    There is a bold heading claiming the notice is a “Distraint Warrant,” which refers to a legal term related to the IRS power to levy and distrain to collect unpaid taxes.

    This is a scare tactic these scam artists are employing to spook consumer’s into paying a tax debt that doesn’t exist.

    There’s a toll free number listed on the letter, which may lead some consumers to believe that this is a legitimate communication.

    This is a fraudulent notice from a fictitious agency and residents should not call the number if they receive this scam letter.

    How to protect yourself from scams:

    *Never provide personal or financial information to an unknown source without verifying the authenticity.

    *If you suspect you are on the phone with a scam caller, hang up the phone and contact the official agency or business the caller referenced by looking up the number independently.

    *DO NOT call any unverified phone numbers that were provided by the caller, or received in a questionable e-mail, letter, or voicemail.

    *If you provided personal or financial information, or made payment to the scam artist, contact your local police to file a police report.  Consumers can also file a scam report through the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov.