The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is now working with private debt collectors to recover unpaid tax debts. Scammers could attempt to capitalize on potential confusion created by this new development. If you have a long overdue tax account, the IRS will first send you a letter to inform you that it is turning your account over to a debt collector. Then you will receive a letter from the debt collector before they contact you by phone. The only way to pay your debt is electronically or by check, payable to the US Treasury. If you don’t owe overdue taxes, a tax debt collector will not contact you. If you get a call from someone claiming to be collecting overdue taxes, hang up.
Fake checks are featured in many types of scams, from phony prize winnings to fake jobs. And scammers are good at making phony checks look legitimate. The scams typically involve sending victims a check, asking them to deposit it, and then when cleared, asking them to immediately wire the money to a third party. Remember, a check can take weeks to clear. Wait until you are certain, and the bank can confirm, that your check has cleared before taking further action. If you wire money and later discover that the check was fake, you’ll have to repay the bank.
Each year, the Federal Trade Commission releases a data book on scams as reported to the agency in the prior year. This year’s report shows that imposter scams are a serious and growing problem. These scams come in many varieties but work the same way. A scammer pretends to be someone trustworthy, like a government official or computer technician, to convince the consumer to send money. For those who lost money to this scam, the widest reported method of payment was wire transfer. And 77% of the imposter scams came through phone contact. All the more reason to screen your calls!
The Federal Trade Commission reports that the virtual child kidnapping scam has resurfaced. The scam begins with a call from someone claiming to have kidnapped a child in your family. The scammer demands money by wire transfer or prepaid card. These calls are fake and law enforcement organizations, like the FBI, are aware of this type of scam. If you get a call like this, resist the urge to send money immediately, no matter how dramatic the story. These scammers are good at pressuring you to send money before you have time to think. Before you send anything, contact your child or their school directly. Then you can report this fraud at ftc.gov/complaint.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG) Hotline phone number is being used as part of a telephone spoofing scam. Scammers represent themselves as HHS OIG Hotline employees and can alter the appearance of the caller ID to make it seem as if the call is coming from the HHS OIG Hotline, 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477). The scammer will try to get personal information that can be used to steal money from the victim’s bank account or for other fraudulent activity. Know that the HHS OIG will not use the Hotline telephone number to make outgoing calls.
Netflix customers beware ! Scammers are conducting a campaign to obtain personal and financial information from Netflix users across the country. Netflix users are receiving an email claiming to be from the company asking them to update their Netflix login information. After providing this, a second screen appears which asks users to validate their payment information. After providing their information on the fraudulent website, the Netflix customers are re-directed to the actual Netflix homepage. The phishing email looks surprisingly realistic and uses legitimate servers that were compromised, so security software may not recognize the email as a phishing attempt.
that take your money and never send you the product, or worse, send you a product that could cause you harm. Also, be sure to read the fine print on prescription drug coupons you find online. You might discover your purchase won’t count toward your deductible, or that the coupon expires after a certain number of refills.
They may pose as insurance company representatives or someone from Medicare or another federal agency. They will be on the hunt for personal information and money. Don’t fall for bogus requests to verify patient information, promises of refunds, or requests for payment of future premiums.
Romance scams start with fake profiles on online dating sites. The scammer, who is conveniently working abroad, quickly builds a relationship with the targeted victim, exchanging photos, romantic messages, or even talking by phone. Then they will make a request: money needed for an emergency or maybe to plan an in-person visit. The target sends money, and then never hears from the love interest again.
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