Impostor scams have long been among the most lucrative for scammers.  While there are many variations of this scam, the most common variations have involved scammers calling their intended victims on the telephone posing as some governmental agency such as the, FBI, IRS or the Social Security Administration.  The scammer then, under a wide variety of pretenses, demands an immediate payment by gift cards, credit card or wired funds. Being asked to pay by gift cards is a definite indication that the call is a scam since no governmental agency requests or accepts payments by gift cards.   Alternatively, the scammer demands the victim supply the phony governmental agent with personal information such as your Social Security number which will then be used for identity theft purposes.

Filing income tax returns this year will be even more complicated than usual particularly with recent changes to the laws such as the Child Tax Credit and the Recovery Rebate Credit.  Many taxpayers are confused and can’t expect help from the IRS.  Last year the IRS only answered 32 million of 282 million calls made to it.  Unfortunately, scammers have stepped into the void and are contacting unwary taxpayers by phone, text message and email  posing as IRS employees and luring people into either clicking on malware infected links or providing personal information that is used for purposes of identity theft.

So how can you tell if it is really the IRS contacting you?

TIPS

Fortunately, the answer to that question is easy.  The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by phone, email or text messages.  Anyone contacting you by these methods of communication who claims to be an IRS employee is a scammer.

As I have often reminded you, through the simple technique of “spoofing” it is very easy for a scammer to manipulate your Caller ID to make a call coming to you appear legitimate when it is not.  Therefore you can never truly trust your Caller ID.  Trust me, you can’t trust anyone. Even though your Caller ID may indicate that the call is coming from the FBI, the IRS or some other government agency the call is coming from a scammer.

For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”  Scamicide has been cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.

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