Beware of Phishing Schemes or Other Scams

Hackers and others looking to separate you from your money seem to be working overtime lately. This time of year always brings an uptick on tax-related hacking attempts. Add to that the Ukrainian war, and our natural inclination to help those in need, and you have a perfect storm of fraud attempts. With that in mind, we wanted to share some of the most common scams out there right now so you can avoid losing money or even potential disaster. 

Common Tax Scams

First of all, remember that the IRS never contacts taxpayers via email, text or social media to request personal or financial information. So, no matter how desperate or dire a request sounds, if it is sent in any of those ways, it is not legitimate. Common scams in 2022 include:

  • Pandemic-related emails or texts: These are typically about tax credits or other appealing offers to trick you into disclosing personal information. Most of them appear to come from a known source, such as a credit card company, bank, or the IRS. The tone is typically urgent, and the goal is to get you to click on a link that will infect your phone or computer.
  • Offers to settle with the IRS for “pennies on the dollar”: If something seems too good to be true, it often is. These scams are specifically targeted to those who owe money to the IRS and offers to settle debts for much less than owed “as long as you act quickly.”
  • Social Security Number scams: Usually a phone call, these scammers claim to have your social security number and are threatening to suspend or cancel it in an attempt to get the taxpayer to return a call from a hacker. It sounds scary, and often works.
  • Unemployment benefit fraud: Millions of people received unemployment benefits during the pandemic, and criminals have sought to exploit this situation by filing for benefits using stolen identities. If you receive a 1099-G and did not receive unemployment benefits in 2021, you may have been a victim of this scam without realizing it. If this happens, go to this page and report the issue.

If you receive any of these calls, emails, or texts, or the hundreds of others out there, you can report it to the IRS at

Common Ukrainian War Scams

When we see others in danger or dire circumstances, we naturally want to help them if we can. Scammers are creating all sorts of creative schemes to take advantage of our natural inclinations, and here are some of the top offenders.

  • Support those in need: Requests for donations to help the people of Ukraine and those supporting them are rising. While some of them are legitimate, many of them are not. Don’t fall for a request to contribute to relief efforts by clicking on a cleverly disguised link; go directly to the site raising money, such as the Red Cross, instead.
  • Help timing the market: Most of us have seen our investments take a hit in the last month, and even cryptocurrency is down. These schemes play on this concern and offer some sort of help to get your investments back up or an opportunity to make an investment in a stock that can’t lose. Here’s the truth, if anyone contacts you unsolicited with financial advice, it is likely they are trying to take advantage of you to make money for themselves.
  • Fake gas price sites: In addition to a dip in the stock market, we have also seen a major uptick in gas prices. Hackers have set up fake sites and apps to tell you where the cheapest gas is in your area. Once you click the link, a virus is downloaded onto your device. Only go to reputable sites for gas information directly, like Waze or GasBuddy to find the best gas deals.

This is just scratching the surface, but it should help you remain vigilant and avoid some very crafty phishing attempts. Less tech-savvy older people fall for these most often, so be sure to share this information with your loved ones too. Be cautious and skeptical of anything that seems overly urgent, too good to be true, or out of the blue, and you should be fine.

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