Don't get scammed
Let's get this straight: if someone asks you for your password, it's a scam
If you make a rule of never giving your confidential information to people you weren't expecting to hear from, you'll save yourself from lots of scams.
Get a call, text or email from the IRS? It's probably a scam.
Take these six steps to help you avoid tax scams:
Avoid phone scams
Scammers call claiming to be the IRS and they make all kinds of scary, aggressive threats.
File with an IRS-verified tax preparer
Scammers pose as tax phony preparers who file your return for you, only to steal your refund.
Ignore demands for immediate payment
Scammers present creative reasons for why you need to pay them ASAP, usually via gift cards.
Know how the IRS contacts taxpayers
Generally, the IRS doesn't contact anyone about late taxes. If they do, you'll get an official letter first.
Don't click phony links
The IRS doesn't use email, text or social media to discuss tax debts or refunds with taxpayers. So don't click links if the "IRS" asks you to pay this way.
Don't wait to file
Scammers can file your return pretending to be you, and take your refund. Setup an IP PIN with the IRS so you can be notified if someone files on your behalf.
Spoofing =making a phone number look like it's from a legitimate organization
Get a call or text from "Oregon Department of Revenue" or "Oregonians Credit Union"? This could be a spoofed call or text.
How do I for-sure know it's a scam?
- They ask for your password
- They ask for your PIN number
- They ask for your login information
- They demand immediate resolution
- You weren't expecting them to call
What do I do?
Hang up and call the entity's public phone number.
Phishing = fraudsters "fishing for your confidential information"
They lie about who they are and they present clever reasons to get you to tell them your passwords, logins, SSN, card numbers, etc. Here are some classic examples:
- "Your account has been blocked... click this link..."
- "Your warranty has expired... give me your card number..."
- "Your SSN has been suspended... call this number..."
- "You've won a prize... pay this fee..."
In phishing scenarios, the fraudster pretends to be an individual representing a legitimate company or agency, and they trick you into giving them your information.
If you weren't expecting to hear from the caller, then...
|Don't do this:||And instead, do this:|
|Click links they send you||Go to the organization's public website|
|Give information when they call you||Hang up, and call the organization's public phone number|
|Download or open attachments they send you||Call the organization's public phone number to confirm they are valid|
Smishing = phishing via text message
Smishing is primarily used to get you to download malicious links sent to you in a text. Sometimes it's a fake coupon link to click on that appears to be broken, but it installs a virus on your phone. Other times it's a link to a login page that looks legitimate, but the fraudster is capturing your login info.
Don't engage with unsolicited text messages
If you didn't sign up for text notifications or recently interact with the business, rely on this simple childhood life lesson: don't talk to strangers.
Fraudsters love preying on the elderly: they typically have more money and they're more vulnerable. You can protect yourself or your loved ones from financial abuse by becoming familiar with some of their common tactics.
The fraudster calls the victim and pretends to be their grandchild. The "grandchild" will them ask for money for some unexpected financial problem - like paying for rent, medical bills, car repairs, or a jail bond.
Fraudsters create fake online dating and social media profiles to forge phony romances with lonely victims. After professing their undying love, they ask for money to help with random expenses.
Fraudsters offer senior care, medical equipment, products or services that the victim will pay for and the scammer will never be provide.
Fraudulent "legal" documents
Fraudsters forge fake documents that will grant them access to the victim's confidential information or property. They present threatening situations to get the victim to sign them (without reading what the document actually says, of course).
Home repair scam
Fraudsters scour neighborhoods and appear on the victim's doorstep to fix a problem they noticed - like a clogged drainpipe or hole in the roof. They demand payment upfront and never deliver services.
Many people turn to online dating apps or social networking sites to meet someone. But instead of finding romance, the victim meets a fraudster who forges a fake romance.
After they profess their undying love, they ask the victim for money to cover expenses. Usually, they are large ticket expenses like plane tickets, debts, medical expenses, etc.
Sweetheart scam red flags
- They live or work far away
- They'll video chat, but not visit
- They send blurry or unrealistic photos
- They profess their love very quickly into the relationship
- They promise to meet in person but always cancel
- Their request for money is urgent
- They ask for payment in gift card or wire transfer