As sure as school is out, we’ve seen the same old scams reimagined. I’d thought the creativity had peaked a few years ago in the pandemic, but now? Scammers have returned to their old “classics” and are – as always – working overtime.
So, right now, if you haven’t been already, be careful with respect to any information your receive via text, email, or phone calls related to your tax returns, your refunds, or any monies you might have owed.
There are reports of thousands of these having occurred and nearly half of them mention that money and data has been lost or stolen.
Let’s look at some of the most common that have been identified:
- The first one is a text message that tells the recipient there is a problem or issue with their tax return, driver’s license, or even healthcare/insurance policies. This text message has a hyperlink in it to “provide information” and when the recipient opens the link? A virus is dropped into the user’s device to share personal data.
- Another popular scam – taken directly from the IRS scammers – is impersonating a governmental agency (or an agency that sounds like it’s a part of the Federal government). One such call referenced the FCC “Financial Care Center” to facilitate SBA payments from the PPP loans many small businesses took out. Of course, the FCC – the Federal Communications Commission – has no funds nor any systems to share them.
- At this time, many of the scams seem to revolve around small businesses due to the challenges inherent in the repayment processes and the seemingly endless amount of oversight the government put into place after the fact regarding the various stimulus plans. “Real” information will only originate from the SBA or from a bank the business owner has already contracted with.
- Lastly, there are plenty of scams revolving around the recent bank failures, home loans, and health insurance scams. As with anything relating to money, it’s wise to simply be smart and do your own research before buying (or paying) anything that sounds too good to be true.
This is a scary and strange time, and with interest rates on the rises, inflation continuing to be a challenge, and uncertainty about so many things economic, scammers and illicit activities always seem to show up. If you are worried about protecting your family and finances, then the best advice is the advice we’ve always given, “Trust and verify.”
All the best-