It's Tax Time--- BEWARE of ALL the Scams! Not just tax ones...

Tax Day has come and gone... but diligence is required on your part!

This is the time of year that scammers "come out of the woodwork." Their scams to get your money have become much more sophisticated. Below I will outline some of the ways that you can be scammed, but remember the old adage generally attributed to Edgar Allen Poe: "Believe nothing that you hear, and only half of what you see."

The first method of scamming someone out of their money is one of the oldest and least technical..... the phone. Today's technology can spoof (falsify) Caller ID so that what you see on the phone display is NOT who is actually calling. It may say, "Internal Revenue Service", but it is most likely a scammer from another country. So.. you can't believe what you see.

Then... these scammers hire actors, or "voice specialists" that speak fluent English and will call you and sound official and scare you by saying that if you do not pay your tax bill promptly, you will be arrested.

If you do get a call like this.... do NOT believe them. Instead HANG UP, and then you, yourself, look up the phone number for the IRS and call them. PLEASE don't write down the number that the caller gives you to call the IRS.... that's fake.

I received a call like this yesterday (on Tax Day) and the gentleman on the phone was very convincing.... up to a point. When he said that if I did not comply by sending them GreenDot prepaid credit card numbers (a RED FLAG if there ever was one, just like if they ask for you to pay with gift cards and the like) I would be arrested. I answered, "OK. Send the police." At this point, the scammer became more upset and said that I would be in JAIL (he emphasized that word). Again, I said, "OK. Send them. I'll pack my bags and be waiting." At this point, the scammer launched into a tirade of curse words and hung up on me. What happened to the professional? Nothing.... because there never was one!

The second method of scamming someone is by email. This is called "Phishing". It's a coined term based on the real word "fishing", meaning to "try and reel in a sucker through an official looking email". Scammers have gotten VERY sophisticated in generating FAKE emails that look so real that sometimes they even fool the actual companies themselves!

Because there are SO MANY types and variants to the Phishing scam, I want to give you some simple advice: