Chalk up 2016 as another year of role-playing rip-offs: Fake IRS agents threatening arrest or deportation unless immediate payment is made for supposed back taxes. Fake grandchildren claiming trouble while overseas and in need of their loved ones’ financial help. Fake warnings of dire consequences for supposedly missing jury duty, avoided only by paying a fine and providing personal information for likely identity theft.
Some food for thought at that Labor Day barbecue: Scammers are increasing their focus on small and midsize businesses. Among the top ploys that burn employers and their labor force:
Phishing attempts on social media have more than doubled over the past year as scammers find new ways to trick people into providing personal and financial information.
Along with trying to scam the public in the nation’s reigning top ruse — phony phone calls threatening arrest, deportation or seizure of property unless immediate payment is made for alleged back taxes — IRS impostors are also breaking records on another fraudulent front this tax season. Bogus emails and text messages that phish for sensitive information or deliver computer malware have increased fourfold so far this year, reports the Internal Revenue Service. Designed to look like they’re from the IRS or another legitimate entity, these emails seek information that could be used for identity theft or to file false returns for fraudulent refunds.
En español | Job websites are often used to pitch work that doesn’t work out. Posing as legitimate employers, scammers post ads for nonexistent positions — and usually include at least one of the typical tip-offs to a job scam.
En español | If you haven’t already received your new EMV “smart chip” credit card(s), you soon will. What else can you expect, even if you were previously sent the new plastic? Expect bogus emails allegedly sent by card issuers, PayPal or other businesses that supposedly provide details about your account with more secure, chip-imbedded cards.
As unsolicited emails, phone calls and mailed letters (often with fake checks) continue to recruit victims in mystery shopping scams, fraudsters have widened their net to the popular networking website LinkedIn.
As we honor our former military personnel, Veterans Day is also a good time to recognize the year-round attempts to defraud them and to take advantage of those who appreciate their sacrifice and service.
Phone calls claim there's a problem with your bank account or credit or debit card. Some allege you qualify for a lower-interest-rate credit card because you've been such a good customer. And the newest trick: telling businesses that their card-swiping machines aren't working right and credit card transactions must be made by phone.
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