ELIZABETH—With tax season approaching, Union County residents can expect a stream of official-looking envelopes in their mailboxes. Most contain authentic documents, but some “look-alike” mailings have been identified as a source of junk mail, scams, and serious fraud.
“The public is becoming more alert to internet fraud, but we should all be mindful that hucksters and thieves still use the mailbox,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “If you think you’ve received look-alike mail, call our Office of Consumer Affairs and check it out.”
Some look-alikes use official-looking emblems to mimic government documents and envelopes. Others imitate the distinctive style of familiar government mailings such as tax forms.
Union County residents can call the county’s Office of Consumer Affairs at 908654-9840 with questions about mail they receive. All voice messages are answered promptly.
Union County works with the United States Postal Service on mail fraud issues. Help is also available from the New Jersey Division of Taxation at 1-800-323-4400, or use the convenient email contact at wvw.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation.
For questions about mailings that appear to come from the IRS, call 1-800-829-1040 or visit www.irs.gov.
Some look-alikes are designed to collect lists of names, and addresses, and phone numbers. When these lists are rented to marketers, they can result in a deluge of junk mail and unwanted phone calls. They can also open the door for scam artists. For these reasons, residents should not respond to look-alike mailings that contain a notice about a free contest or prize.
Look-alikes that solicit social security numbers or credit card numbers can be used for identity theft and other serious fraud.