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Recently, county authorities in several states have reported that some of their residents are receiving “Distraint Warrant” letters from a non-existent “Tax Processing Unit” in their jurisdictions.

The so-called Distraint Warrant reports a false outstanding tax debt owed to the county by the recipient; warns that “levying procedures will begin within 15 days of its receipt,” including threatening garnishment of wages and seizure of property; and, to avoid enforcement, advises people to call the number provided in the letter to pay the outstanding debt.

The notice looks real, but it is completely fake!

If you receive one of these letters, do not call the number in the message. Instead, call your county’s tax department using their published phone number to verify your financial obligations, if any. In North Carolina, always report messages like these by calling the North Carolina Attorney General’s consumer toll-free line at (877) 5-NO-SCAM or submitting a report on the North Carolina Department of Justice website. 

If you ever receive a suspected scam email message at UNCG, do not click on any links, and report the message immediately to 6-TECH.

Phishing scams like these are common. Always be skeptical if you receive any communication that elicits fear and requires immediate action—-whether it arrives by email, text, social media, or regular mail. Keep calm and use an alternative means to verify the message. 

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