Beware of these scams during tax season
Tax season is about more than just refunds or determining how much you will owe. Some of the tips to avoid scams are as follows:Understand how the IRS gets in touch. Don’t respond to phone messages, text messages, social media messages or email from those claiming to be the IRS or demanding payment. By law, anyone who is paid to prepare or assist in preparing federal tax returns must sign the return and include a Preparer Tax Identification Number. Beware of direct deposit/wire transfer scams.
Key scam indicators to look out for to avoid becoming a victim
In fact, you’ll likely see scammers trying to take advantage of disaster situations. During National Consumer Protection Week, the Federal Trade Commission is offering some guidance on what you should be looking out for to avoid becoming a victim. Whatever they may be, the FTC says scammers only want you to pay up or share your personal information. Remember, no legitimate company or organization will ever ask you to pay with a gift card, money transfer or pre-paid debit card. And no government agency will ever call, email or text to ask you for money, your Social Security number or your banking information.
Online scams target Americans desperate for coronavirus vaccine
Online scams target Americans desperate for coronavirus vaccine Law enforcement is warning of a growing number of online scams tied to COVID vaccinations. Scammers are now claiming to have vaccines for sale. Manuel Bojorquez takes a look.cbsnews.com
Filing a tax return? Here are some ways to avoid scams and keep your personal information safe.
The IRS says it will never call or email you to ask for personal information, nor will it demand immediate payment without sending you a bill in the mail. The agency will also not ask for your credit card information over the phone, nor will it threaten to have you arrested for not paying immediately. Filing a tax return? It’s recommended to do the following to ensure your personal information is safer:File your taxes electronically and request the refund be deposited directly into your bank account. If you have one, don’t carry your Medicare card unless you’re going to the doctor for the first time.
CPS Energy warns of scammers cloning its number, offering reimbursement to customers
CPS Energy is warning its customers that scammers are calling customers with a spoofed or cloned number that looks to be the CPS Energy customer service number of 210-353-2222. Although this new customer service action involves calling the customer, no request for personnel banking or personal identification numbers are requested,” said CPS Energy Spokesperson John Moreno. Anyone who receives this type of call should not make any payments and should hang up and call CPS Energy customer service directly at 210-353-2222. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, CPS Energy has stopped disconnection of services for nonpayment and has no timeline for resuming disconnections. The company said if someone approaches a customer’s home or business claiming to be with CPS Energy, the customer should always ask for an employee ID.
A look back: The COVID-19 scams we saw in 2020
SAN ANTONIO – A lot of this year’s scams focused on the coronavirus pandemic, from fake cures and treatments to fake charities. We saw shortages of products at stores and searched the web for in-demand items. ----------During the pandemic, the FTC also saw fake COVID-19 cures and treatments, as well as phony testing sites. Keep these tips in mind when searching online for cures, treatments or testing sites:No treatments have been proven to prevent COVID-19. If an online seller asks you to pay with a gift card, cash or money transfer, the transaction is a scam.
Why experts say you should never keep personal information on your phone
But even though it’s convenient, there are some things you should never store in your phone. Using your cellphone as a place to store your personal information may be convenient, but it’s not the safest option. It can be hard to remember all of them, but if you store one on your phone, you’re putting your data at risk. Experts say if you were to lose your phone, the passwords you have on your phone can end up stored in the cloud, putting your accounts at risk. While it’s convenient, if you were to lose your phone you risk losing control of your bank account.
Want to participate in a COVID-19 clinical trial? Don’t fall for these scams.
SAN ANTONIO – Across the U.S., thousands of clinical trials are underway to study vaccine candidates and treatments for COVID-19. And some bad actors are working to take advantage of clinical volunteers to make a quick buck. If thinking about participating in a COVID-19 study for a vaccine or treatment, it’s crucial to know how to spot real clinical trials and weed out the fake ones, which are set up to steal money or personal information from participants. The Federal Trade Commission is offering the following tips to help you avoid clinical trial scams:
Protect yourself from COVID-19 related cons
But the virus isn’t the only danger that’s looming, and you should make sure you are not the next victim of a COVID-19 con. The Federal Trade Commission has received more than 79,000 reports of fraud related to COVID-19, resulting in 97 million dollars in fraud loss. Also beware of fake COVID contact tracers. Real contact tracers will call by phone, not connect by email. Always be cautious of anything you put on your phone and never give your info to someone you’re not 100% comfortable with.
Bexar County residents being targeted in new phone scam, BSCO warns
BEXAR COUNTY, Texas – The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents about another phone scam that is targeting residents. Bexar County does not call residents to collect fines or penalties, or for payments for outstanding warrants. Residents should never pay using a pre-paid debit card, gift card or money card obtained at a retail store,” BSCO deputies warn. What should you do if you receive a call from a scammer pretending to be with Bexar County? Record the phone number the person is telling you to call back - do not trust that the number is a Bexar County number because it probably isn’t.
Social media is a breeding ground for scams during COVID-19 crisis, FTC says
SAN ANTONIO – Social media is for more than sharing pet pics and political fights. As people have been scrolling through the pandemic, scammers have been ripping them off for millions of dollars, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Reports of losses due to social media scams have more than tripled in the last year. If you see an ad on your social media feed, don’t depend on the comments for validation. To protect yourself from scammers lurking on social media, experts advise the following:
How to spot and report tech scams to the FTC
SAN ANTONIO – Many people are working and learning from home and using their tech more than ever, and with the increased use comes an increased risk for tech support scams. If you come across one of these pop-ups, don’t call the number or click on any links. Never share access to your computer or provide your bank account, credit card or Social Security numbers with anyone who contacts you. And if you need tech support, contact a computer technician you trust or a trusted company. For more information from the FTC on tech scams, click here.
Heres how you can avoid census scams
She wasnt sure if it was real or a scam since she had already filled out her census form some months back. According to the Census Bureaus government website, workers will identify themselves by name and ID number when calling. If you have questions about a call you received, call one of the numbers on the census website to verify if an official government worker contacted you. Dont give up all the information.The deadline to fill out the census form online or by mail is at the end of October. In August, census workers will actively begin trying to reach the homes that have not yet filled out the census form.
Scammers use fake websites, phony remedies to prey on fears during pandemic
Unfortunately, scammers are very creative and they come up with all sorts of ways to prey on people in the midst of a pandemic, said Christina Tetreault, Consumer Reports financial policy advocate. San Antonio bar owner in financial bind amid COVID-19 pandemicAmong the tricks to separate people from their money - phony remedies. Scammers also also known to impersonate contact tracers. Instead of asking about your whereabouts, they are asking for financial account information, which contact tracers do not need. People need to be vigilant about sharing information if they did not initiate the contact, Tetreault said.
Here’s how to beat identity thieves to the punch as tax filing season gets underway
SAN ANTONIO – Phony calls and emails are just some of the many methods thieves use to steal people’s identities and file tax claims. Tax adviser Norma Cox says people can beat thieves by filing their taxes early. But the parents definitely know that their children have not, you know, of course, filed their tax return,” Cox said. The IRS offers Identity Protection PINs to add an extra layer of protection for those filing tax returns. A ghost preparer is someone who does not sign a tax return they prepare.