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Feb-23-2012 18:33printcomments

State Urges Consumers to Beware of Tax Season Scams

Misleading offers promise ‘free’ help.

tax season scams

(SALEM) - The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services is urging Oregonians not to fall victim to tax season scams promising “free” help around debt management.

Under Oregon law, those offering help in debt management, such as foreclosure avoidance, short sales, modifying loans or negotiating with a consumer’s creditors to reduce monthly payments for a fee, must be registered with the state. The law sets maximum fees that debt management companies can charge. The maximum upfront fee a company may charge is $50, and the maximum monthly fee is $65.

Particularly during this time of year, consumers may be solicited for debt services in relation to tax assistance. The department is encouraging consumers to obtain information about tax questions from the IRS or by consulting a licensed tax preparer.

“We recognize many people are struggling financially but consumers need to be cautious,” said David Tatman, administrator of the department’s Division of Finance and Corporate Securities. “Oregon has strong protections in place for debt management companies. Don’t be duped by a tax season scheme.”

The department has recently seen fliers and websites offering “free” help with the 2007 Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act. In one instance, a flier was disguised with symbols to make it appear that it came from a government agency.

Consumers can search for registered debt management companies by going to the division’s website at by calling the department toll-free at 1-866-814-9710.The site also has a frequently asked questions section and encourages Oregonians to report companies who are illegally advertising debt-related services in the state.

For more information on the Mortgage Forgiveness Relief Act, visit the IRS website:,,id=179414,00.html.

The Division of Finance and Corporate Securities (DFCS) helps ensure that a wide range of financial products and services are available to Oregonians and protects consumers from financial fraud and abuse. It does that by licensing financial institutions and service providers, regulating the sale of securities in Oregon, investigating complaints and alleged violations of financial-service laws, and providing education and other resources to consumers.

The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, visit

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Ralph E. Stone February 24, 2012 7:29 am (Pacific time)

A Federal Trade Commission Rule bans advance fee loan modifications. In California, it is illegal to collect any fees, regardless of the form, for negotiating or attempting to negotiate a loan modification for a residential mortgage. All modification services must be fully complete before any money can be collected. It is also illegal to divide fees or services into components for the purpose of avoiding this law.

stephen February 23, 2012 7:22 pm (Pacific time)

pay attention to this article. My son just got some advice today and I had to straighten him out...the scams are intentional to enslave, same with the mortgages from past years. Interesting. the IRS is a terror group, collecting money that is not legal according to the Constitution, but they have the guns...and prisons...They are no different than the gustapo. God Bless America.

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