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You wouldn’t leave your house keys in the door, would you? Of course not — most people keep their homes and cars locked and secured at all times. If not, someone could get in and steal your belongings and personal information.You wouldn’t leave your house keys in the door, would you? Of course not — most people keep their homes and cars locked and secured at all times. If not, someone could get in and steal your belongings and personal information. So why should your computer be any different? It has information that can be just as valuable, like your financial data, Social Security number, or passwords to your files and email. Stay smart and protect yourself: watch this video from OnGuardOnline.gov to learn how to foil a hacker — and keep your computer as secure as your most valued possessions. _____________________ The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the nation’s consumer protection agency. The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace.

IRS Impersonation Scam Strike Again

The IRS impersonation scam is one of the most persistent cons out there. It reappears every few months, and this summer it's back with a vengeance. BBB has received numerous complaints about aggressive calls by fake IRS agents.

The IRS impersonation scam is one of the most persistent cons out there. It reappears every few months, and this summer it's back with a vengeance. BBB has received numerous complaints about aggressive calls by fake IRS agents. 

How the Scam Works:

You get a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS. In the most recent version of this scam, the "IRS agent" informs you that you are being sued for unpaid taxes. She/he may give you a fake badge number and name. 

The "representative" tries to pressure you into paying a fee by using a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. If you don't pay up immediately, the "IRS agent" will sign a warrant for your arrest. No matter how much the caller threatens you, don't fall for it! 

How to Spot an IRS Impostor Scam

Here are some ways to spot a fake IRS agent.  

  1. Be wary if you are being asked to act immediately. Scammers typically try to push you into action before you have had time to think. The IRS will give you the chance to question or appeal what you owe.
  2. The IRS doesn't call, text or email. The IRS won't call about payment or overdue taxes without first contacting you by mail.  
  3. Don't wire money or use a prepaid debit card. Scammers often pressure people into wiring money or using a prepaid debit card. It's like sending cash: once it's gone, you can't trace it. The IRS says it will never demand immediate payment, require a specific form of payment, or ask for credit card or debt card numbers over the phone. 
  4. If you owe taxes or you think you might, contact the IRS at 800.829.1040 or irs.gov. IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue, if there is an issue.
  5. If you know you don't owe taxes. Report the incident to the Department of the Treasury at 800-366-4484 or tigta.gov

For More Information

Check out the IRS website to learn more about scams and report suspicious activity.

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The BBB is dedicated to fostering honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers in the U.S. and Canada, instilling consumer confidence and contributing to a trustworthy marketplace for all.

 

Scammers Impersonate the Police

We know scammers are out there, impersonating the authorities and conjuring up different schemes to fool people into giving them money. They might say they’re calling from the IRS because you owe taxes. Or claim they’re from the FTC, calling to help you recover money lost to a scammer. But now we’re hearing about a new ploy: scammers are impersonating the police! That takes some chutzpah, huh?
We know scammers are out there, impersonating the authorities and conjuring up different schemes to fool people into giving them money. They might say they’re calling from the IRS because you owe taxes. Or claim they’re from the FTC, calling to help you recover money lost to a scammer. But now we’re hearing about a new ploy: scammers are impersonating the police! That takes some chutzpah, huh? Here’s how it works. You get a phone call. Someone you care about is in jail and, they say, you need to pay up to bail him out. The scam-detecting radar in your head immediately goes off. You’re skeptical – but the caller ID says the call is from the police department. And, let’s be honest, your nephew is a knucklehead and you can totally imagine him being arrested. So, you keep listening. The caller tells you to put money on a prepaid card and give him the card number. Now your scam-detecting radar is going off the charts. You know that police departments — and the federal government, for that matter — don’t tell people to pay with prepaid cards. You also know using a prepaid card is like paying cash — once the money is gone, you can’t get it back. “But what about the caller ID?” you wonder. In fact, what seems like reliable information about the source of a call isn’t so reliable anymore. Scammers can rig caller ID to look like they’re calling from the police department. Or, really, anywhere — even your own number. Don’t rely on caller ID. It’s not foolproof. Scammers can easily spoof it to try to gain your trust. If it looks like the police are calling, look up the non-emergency phone number (hint: it’s not 9-1-1) and call to find out if the story is legit. You’ll soon learn it’s a scam. Report the imposter to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. Select the category “Scams and Rip-offs” then “Impostor Scams”. To learn more, read Government Imposter Scams or listen to these tips. ______________________ The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the nation’s consumer protection agency. The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace.
 

Looking for Love on Tinder? Watch Out!

Romance scams, sometimes called "catfishing," are an unfortunate reality of online dating. As the, mobile dating app Tinder has grown in popularity, scam artists have targeted its users and refined their approach so they are harder to spot.

Romance scams, sometimes called "catfishing," are an unfortunate reality of online dating. As the, mobile dating app Tinder has grown in popularity, scam artists have targeted its users and refined their approach so they are harder to spot. 

How the Scam Works:

You are browsing through profiles on Tinder, and you spot an attractive man or woman. You flip through his or her pictures and read over the profile. You are interested in chatting with him/her, so you swipe right to show your interest. 

A few minutes later, you get a message from Tinder saying you're a match, meaning that person also liked your profile. Then, you receive a message from your potential date. You swap a few messages through the app, and your new match suggests that you text instead. Everything seems to be going great, but once you move your conversation out of Tinder, it changes. 

Tinder has cracked down on obvious spam, so scammers are getting more sophisticated in their approach. Your new match may start telling you to try an "amazing" new service or product. They typically provide links with referral codes, so the spammers get paid for sending new customers. Scammers will recommend you download an app and provide you with a link that loads malware to your phone. Other scammers will ask you for an address and other personal information under the guise of sending flowers or another gift. 

How to Spot a Tinder Scam: 

Weed out scam profiles by looking for the following warning signs: 

  • They reply WAY too fast: Many of the fake profiles on Tinder aren't real people, they are spam bots. Watch out for anyone who messages you immediately after being matched. 
  • They quickly suggest chatting through text message or a chat program. Many Tinder users will move the conversation to text message, but spam accounts will suggest it almost immediately. 
  • They don't listen. If your match responds with answers that don't make sense in the context of the conversation, that's a sign the replies are canned. Try asking questions, and if the answer doesn't make sense, move on.
  • They have a glamour shot. If your Tinder match looks like a model and is wearing a bikini, she may not be real (although, some reports say that scammers are being less overt and aiming for more of a "girl next door" look). 

For More Information

Check out Tinder's website for tips on spotting and reporting scams. 

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The BBB is dedicated to fostering honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers in the U.S. and Canada, instilling consumer confidence and contributing to a trustworthy marketplace for all.