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County warns of possible tax scam

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Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

A county official is warning residents about an apparent scam asking people to pay local property taxes over the phone.

Chaves County Treasurer Charlotte Andrade-Gurule said that she was informed that a county resident had received a phone call from someone who identified herself as “Melissa from Chaves County Treasury” and asked for credit or debit card information to pay delinquent taxes.

“The taxpayer suspected it was a fraudulent call, so she called me to confirm,” said Andrade-Gurule. “I just want to make sure that the citizens of Chaves County know that no one from the Chaves County Treasurer’s Office will ever call and request debit or credit card information. We do not take payments by phone.”

The county does offer an automated phone system for payments, but county employees would not be initiating or participating in the call. Other ways to pay taxes are by mail, online or using the drop box at the Chaves County Administrative Center, 1 St. Mary’s Place.

The first half of property taxes were due Dec 10. The second half is due May 10, Andrade-Gurule said.

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She explained that delinquent tax information is a matter of public record, so people can obtain those lists. The lists would not provide phone numbers. But they would would show the property address and the amount owed, so a scammer might sound informed.

“Especially during these times, we need to look out for each other,” Andrade-Gurule said. “And I am really concerned that some of our senior citizens or veterans or anyone out there may potentially fall for this scam and fall for that information.”

She said that anyone suspecting a problem or with a question about their taxes should call the Treasurer’s Office at 575-624-6618. The county website, which contains a link to the online payment system on the Treasurer’s Office page, is www.chavescounty.gov.

Andrade-Gurule also said that she wanted to thank taxpayers who have paid and have shown “patience” during a challenging time.

“We have collected about 58.55% of our property tax roll for this year,” she said, “which is amazing this year, given the pandemic and business closures.”

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.