Technology The 5 tax scams to watch out for in 2020
Romance scams: Americans lost $201 million last year
Online romance scams are growing at a dizzying pace, raking in millions of dollars from unsuspecting victims across the United States. Some of the scams drag on for months or years, and leave the victims crushed emotionally and financially. Just this week, federal officials announced that Americans lost $201 million to online romance scams last year -- nearly a 40% jump since 2018.Here's how to avoid getting your heart and money stolen: They claim to be in these professionsRomance scammers start off with fake profiles using someone else's identity.
If it feels like we have far too many scams to worry about and protect ourselves from, you're correct. Fromabout free vacations to that lead to unsafe websites, nefarious individuals are constantly trying to trick and manipulate people out of their hard-earned money.
Now with tax season upon us, individuals and groups will once again attempt toout of millions of dollars, using techniques and technologies that range from the old school to the cutting edge. This year is no different, and the IRS has been about how to spot the red flags and strategies for staying out of scammers' crosshairs.
Police warn that abbreviating 2020 on legal documents could lead to fraud
The East Millinocket Police Department posted the advice on New Year's Day to help protect their community against fraud.The East Millinocket Police Department posted on the organization's Facebook page that people shouldn't abbreviate the year 2020 on legal or professional documents because it could lead to fraud.
Even if you've been careful with your sensitive data, the negligence of others may have put you in harm's way. For example, in 2017, Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus,that included Social Security numbers, home addresses, credit card numbers, drivers' license numbers and birth dates.
The company estimates that the data of 143 million people -- most in the US -- were exposed. The 2017 tax season may help reveal the extent of the damage, as identity thieves use stolen Social Security numbers to file fraudulent tax returns and receive refunds.
1 dead in Grand Prairie's first traffic fatality of 2020
A man was hit and killed by a car Saturday afternoon, marking the first traffic fatality in Grand Prairie, police said Sunday. The man, who has not been publicly identified, is suspected to have been drunk when he tried to cross the road around 6:45 p.m. Saturday in the 2500 block of West Main Street and Texas Highway 180, police said. He was crossing the road going north when a woman driving west in a 2019 Acura SUV hit him, police said. TheThe man, who has not been publicly identified, is suspected to have been drunk when he tried to cross the road around 6:45 p.m. Saturday in the 2500 block of West Main Street and Texas Highway 180, police said.
Here's a shortlist of some of the most popular scams making the rounds -- and how to keep both your identity and tax return safe and secure.
The IRS impersonation phone call
How it works: One of the most brazen schemes used every year isto taxpayers and demand an immediate tax payment. Calling from a phone number that appears to belong to the IRS on your caller ID, they will threaten, badger and intimidate you into making a rash decision. Usually they will often ask for a transfer of funds by gift card or wire transfer. Thieves are increasingly extending this scheme to email and social media channels.
How to protect yourself: Know that-- especially via gift card or wire transfer. Though debt collectors have been known to get pushy, an IRS representative should never berate, abuse or threaten to bring in law or immigration agencies.
FBI: BEC scams accounted for half of the cyber-crime losses in 2019
Average loss per BEC scam amounted to nearly $75,000, per complaint, on average.The FBI said that almost half of the reported losses -- an estimated $1.77 billion -- came from reports of BEC (Business Email Compromise), also known as EAC (Email Account Compromise) crimes.
If someone claiming to work for the IRS calls you, the IRS says you should write down the number you received the call from, the name of the caller and then hang up. You can then call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 or visitto view your account.
Report a scam phone call with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration by calling 1-800-366-4484, or at. You can also call the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP or visit
The surprise refund bait-and-switch
How it works: In the words of the IRS, this is a "new twist on an old scam." After criminals have secured your sensitive personal information, such as social security numbers and tax forms, they can easily file a fraudulent return on your behalf.
Once the funds hit your bank account, the scammers, impersonating someone from the IRS or a collection agent, will contact you to-- either by depositing into an account or sending it to an address.
Watch AMD's CES 2020 event here at 5PM ET
AMD's CES 2020 press conference is about to take place and it should include some details on next-generation Ryzen processors. There also might be some more info on Renoir chips as well as another GPU to round out the current 5000 lineup. It might not have too much to share when it comes to high-end products, though -- AMD may wait until closer to the release of upcoming PlayStation and Xbox consoles for updates on that front. In any case, we won't have to wait too long to find out what AMD has up its sleeve for CES. Its event will start at 5PM ET/2PM PT and you can watch it right here.
How to protect yourself: Be on the alert for an unexpected tax bill, refund, or messages from the IRS or your tax preparer about multiple returns filed using your social security number. If you get an erroneous refund -- don't go out and make a major purchase; the IRS will want its money back.
If you suspect you're a victim,; request that the major credit bureaus put a "fraud alert" on your record, and contact the IRS at 1-800-908-4490.
Cancel or suspend your Social Security number
How it works: Criminals are making calls and threatening to are paid. The scam may seem legit because the caller has some of your personal information, including the last four digits of your SSN. But as the IRS puts it: "Make no mistake… it's a scam."(SSN) until your overdue
How to protect yourself: If someone calls and threatens to cancel or suspend your social security number, hang up immediately. If they call back, don't answer. Write down the number and then, and send an email with the subject of "IRS Phone Scam" to firstname.lastname@example.org and include the phone number, as well as any other details that are relevant, in the body of the email.
Palm reader scams $71K from client in demon possession ruse, police say
A palm reader is accused of stealing about $71,000 from a client after convincing the woman her daughter was possessed by a demon, Somerset police said. Tracey Milanovich, 37, was charged with six counts of obtaining property over $250 by trick, larceny over $1,200 and intimidation of a witness. Sign up for our Newsletters On Dec. 17, Somerset police said they launched an investigation into Milanovich after a resident reported that she was tricked into giving her large sums of money.
If you do owe taxes, you can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to discuss your payment options. However, your Social Security number will not be canceled or suspended.
Fake texts, emails, or social media messages
How it works: Thieves have had years to refine their email trickery and have recently expanded into text messages and social media messages.have become much more sophisticated, with incredibly authentic-looking messages sent from credible-looking addresses that dupe victims into sharing sensitive information or installing malware.
One particularly bold gambit involves scammers using the IRS name and logo to warn taxpayers about the very scam they're perpetrating, before soliciting sensitive personal information. Note that attackers are increasingly targeting tax professionals in addition to taxpayers.
How to protect yourself: Be wary about any communications you receive over email, text message or social media purporting to be the IRS, a tax professional or any other financial organization. Again, the real IRS will never initiate contact to request personal or financial information.
If you do receive such a message, the IRS asks that you forward it to email@example.com. Do not reply to the original message.
Scammers are constantly trying new things
The IRS has a dedicatedwhere the agency publishes warnings and updates about the current crop of scams that are being used. Additional scams the IRS has issued warnings for include who charge someone to do their taxes, often based on a large refund amount, and then fail to mail in the tax return -- leaving the customer with an unfiled tax return and no refund.
Watch Samsung's CES 2020 keynote in under eight minutes
Between CES and the upcoming Unpacked, at which it'll reveal its next flagship mobile devices, Samsung has already set itself up for a jam-packed year. Even before its keynote, Samsung was having a busy CES, having revealed severalTVs, laptops (including a 4K Chromebook) and a Galaxy S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite in the leadup to the event. But it still had some things to showcase, including a spherical robot called Ballie Samsung suggests will be able to manage your smart home.© Provided by EngadgetThe press conference had a major focus on fitness, featuring Samsung's Gait Enhancing & Motivating System (GEMS) exoskeleton.
There'sthat targets businesses with an file attachment.
The biggest takeaway here is this: If the IRS needs something from you, you'll receive a letter in the mail. You won't get an email, phone call or text message. Even still, letters can be faked, so it's best to use onlyand .
In addition to preventing your tax information from being compromised, it's also a good idea to, wherever possible, and .
Originally published earlier this month. Updated with new information.
There’s a new FedEx text message scam that you need to know about .
The hard part about avoiding dangerous online and mobile scams is that scammers have become much more sophisticated in recent years. Whether it's a phishing email purporting to be from Apple or a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, consumers need to remain as vigilant as ever when it comes to identifying seemingly legit messages designed to steal an individual's personal information and cold hard cash. The latest texting scam comes in the form of a text designed to look like a legitimate FedEx tracking notification.
Expect scammers to get creative in 2020
You can expect scammers to get creative in 2020.
Beware of scammers looking to steal money during tax season
The IRS is accepting tax returns right now, but before you do anything, be on the lookout for frauds looking to steal your money.