Scam artists posing as state Department of Revenue employees have been calling businesses in Washington and trying to trick them into dialing an international number that will charge them for the call.
"This is just a scam to mislead callers into paying a phone charge," said Tremaine Smith, the revenue department's deputy director.
In the scam, the victim business receives an automated phone call. The message says the state Department of Revenue has been trying to get a hold of the business regarding its tax account and directs the business to call 800-631-4228. When the business calls the number, a recording prompts them to call 10-15-15-8000. If the business follows through, $7 is charged to its telephone account, the revenue department reported.
The revenue department reports that its employees will make phone calls to businesses that have fallen behind on filing their state excise tax returns. Those businesses are asked to call 800-631-4028 and will not be directed to a second, international number.
Two years ago, the same scam was prevalent in Washington. Investigators discovered the scam was being run out of foreign countries and could not track down the suspects.