'Tis the Season for Scams

    The IRS just called. You’re being sued for back taxes.

     

    The Social Security Administration left you a message. They believe your social security number has been involved in a crime. They are asking you to pay a fee to reactivate it.

     

    Your online streaming service wants you to update your payment details. Just click the link in your email and enter your credit card number.

     

    These scams have been around for years and there’s a reason why they continue to occur: they work. It’s easy to be fooled by scammers looking to steal your personal information, especially when they use the names of government agencies or well-known businesses.

    This year is no exception. In fact, with the outbreak of COVID-19, there are more scammers at play, hoping to abuse your trust by offering bogus cures, vaccines, testing kits, and stimulus checks.

    By staying informed about the latest scams, you’ll be able to protect yourself and your loved ones. Here are some trusted resources that will help keep your money and data secure:

     

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a valuable resource for identifying current scams and learning how to report suspicious activity. https://www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus/avoiding-scams/

     

    The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) offers a variety of tip sheets that will help you stay safe online. Check out their website for advice about creating strong passwords and protecting your personal information. https://www.cisa.gov/national-cybersecurity-awareness-month-resources

     

    Rhode Island’s Consumer Protection Unit is run by the Office of the Attorney General. They investigate unfair and unlawful business practices, and offer guidance on current scams and identity theft. http://www.riag.ri.gov/ConsumerProtection/About.php

     

    If you believe you have been scammed, you’ll want to visit the website of the Federal Trade Commission. They provide clear, concise instructions for what to do if you gave money or personal information to a scammer. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts

     

    Lastly, the AARP Fraud Resource Center provides a wealth of information on how to spot and avoid common scams. You can sign up for free “watchdog alerts” to stay informed. https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/