Every year around tax time, it seems as if scammers are finding new and creative ways of separating consumers from their hard-earned monies. We get a few steps ahead, and they come up with something new. Ultimately though, the most important thing to do is to remain diligent. If it doesn’t sound right…it probably isn’t.
One scam that continues to make the rounds is the caller who claims to be from the IRS…pay up now, because they are coming to arrest you…or deport you…or take away your driver’s license. Ignore this! The IRS will NEVER, EVER contact you by phone first. That is not how they work. They will always initiate a discussion via good old U.S. mail. In addition, they will never ask for a credit card, or a gift card, or any specific method of payment.
Scammers are also posing as legitimate businesses and even your coworkers, contacting you by telephone, email, and regular mail to disregard the last set of instructions and to wire monies to a new account, or for help with a new case. Believe me, we get those too. While it may look and sound legitimate, be cautious. With emails, simply hover your cursor over the email address or destination URL and see if it is coming from where it claims. Before wiring any amount of money anywhere, pick up the telephone and call the person who “asked”.
One of the newer scams this year is the Social Security Administration (SSA) scam. Breathe easy…your social security number is not about to be suspended, nor are your bank accounts about to be seized or frozen. DO NOT verify your social security number to anyone who calls. The SSA will NEVER, EVER call you to threaten you. They will NEVER, EVER ask you to wire money, or send cash or gift cards. Like the IRS, that is not how the SSA operates. If you have a question call them at 1-800-772-1213.
If you believe you have been a victim or are being victimized, contact the appropriate governmental agency, or your local police department. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, give us a call!