Annual Holiday And Pre-Tax Scam Alert
During the holiday season I like to remind my clients and readers to be very cautious and become hyper-alert to scams. Criminal scammers tend to step up their activity level when more people let their guard down and are in the holiday giving spirit. Generosity of spirit can quickly turn a loving act into something tragic.
The IRS informs us that thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to scams. This includes tax scams, Social Security scams, charitable scams, and more. They inform us that scammers use every possible method to snag their victims. They use the regular mail, telephone, text, and email to set up individual, businesses, payroll, and tax professionals. They leave no stone unturned. The IRS advises that you do not click on any e-mail or text message solicitations even if they appear to be from your charity of choice or other reputable institution. If you are in the giving spirit, the IRS suggests that you go to your charity of choice and do your giving through their specific website. Or, even better, go old school and mail them a check!
There’s no need for fear, just exercise a little extra caution. Awareness is key and is all that’s necessary to keep you off the scammer’s holiday victim list and keep your spirits bright. Another tip I found particularly informative is to use a credit card instead of a debit card when making online purchases. Here’s their reasoning: Credit card companies provide protection against fraudulent transactions. Most card issuers will quickly shut down the account and replace your card while they investigate a bogus transaction. And the lag time between when the transaction posts and when you get your statement provides some time to address any issues that may arise. If you use a debit card, fraudsters can have your account(s) cleaned out before you have a chance to report the fraudulent transaction(s) and lock the account down.
For a full list of the governments’ list of consumer scam alerts, visit: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-scams-consumer-alerts
Stay safe, be alert and may your holiday season be blessed, merry, and bright !