IRS Scam Alert.

Scammers seem to be targeting Americans at an alarming rate. I was the target of a scam attempt not too long ago. I received calls claiming to either be the IRS, the Social Security Administration, Wells Fargo Bank, Verizon, and God knows who else.  Everyday millions Americans are targeted and sadly, all too many get hooked.  On a daily basis, I receive emails, phone calls, and texts making some false claim. The purpose, pure and simple, to get me to click, open, or respond in some way.  A few years back, I wrote a blog post about this IRS scam – read here.  And here we are in 2021, and things have gotten worse. Scam alert, criminals are running all types of scams using phones, email, snail mail, and texts. Your cell is no longer off limits.  Their ultimate purpose is to steal your money, property, and identity. These people will steal your last dollar, destroy your finances and credit, and sleep like babies, while you toil over what happened.

Top 10 Scams of 2020.

Trends show that senior citizens are one of the biggest targets of these sleazy scammers. According to complaints compiled by the Federal Trade Commission, people over 60 years of age accounted for 26% of reported scam cases in 2012, up from 10% in 2008.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) tracks and compiles scam complaints and they recently released their Top 10 Scams of 2020. They are:

1. Tax Scams (IRS and CRA)
2. Debt Collections
3. Sweepstakes/Prizes/Gifts
4. Tech Support
5. Government Grants
6. Advanced Fee Loan
7. Credit Cards
8. Work from Home
9. Fake Checks/Money Orders
10. Lottery

The BBB now also offers a Scam Tracker feature on their website. The purpose of this feature is to “Spot a business or offer that sounds like an illegal scheme or fraud? Tell us about it. Help us investigate and warn others by reporting what you know.” The Scam Tracker lists reported scams by date, scam type, zip code, dollars lost, and gives details of the particular scam. You can also search for scams by selecting a date range then using keywords, scam types and location. To date, they have over 12,000 reported scams in their database. They also post Scam Alerts, and of course, you can report a scam yourself.
See the BBB Scam Tracker here.

To avoid becoming the victim of a scam there are certain things you can do to protect yourself. With today’s technology, nothing is full proof, but you can put the odds in your favor. The Federal Trade Commission makes the following suggestions:

• Know who you’re dealing with.
• Know that wiring money is like sending cash.
• Read your monthly statements.
• After a disaster, give only to established charities.
• Talk to your doctor before you buy health products or treatments.
• Remember there’s no sure thing in investing.
• Don’t send money to someone you don’t know.
• Don’t agree to deposit a check and wire money back.
• Don’t reply to messages asking for personal or financial information.
• Don’t play a foreign lottery.

To read these tips with more details go here: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0060-10-ways-avoid-fraud
As you see, there are far too many people out there working full time to rip you off, this is their job and they are good at it. You must remain vigilant. You must use your common sense and intuition. You must educate yourself, as well as your friends and family, about the tactics these criminals use.

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