No matter how bad times get, you can always count on one thing – dirtbags have scams to exploit it. This has been a historic year for crises, and the scammers have been there every step of the way, waiting for you to let your guard down. Here are the biggest ones that are currently running wild and ruining lives:
- Stimulus Payment – The Internal Revenue Service will NEVER contact you through email. If you get anything, no matter how official it looks, don’t click on it. It’s no doubt a phishing scam to get your email, username, password, and other personal information. Getting a solid password manager is a good way to protect against these guys.
- Fake Charities – There are plenty of causes to give to. Research any place that asks you to donate and make sure they’re legit. Be wary if they reach out via text message, or if they call you, but don’t seem to have a website to back up their pitch. Charity Navigator is a great site for verification.
- PPE Scams – As travel opens up, scammers are ready for passengers and eager to exploit them. Consumers think they’re buying masks, or whatever, give their money, and never see the product. Then, they share your info with someone else. Know the companies you’re buying from.
- Income Tax ID Theft – This one is bigger than you realize. Reportedly, the IRS identified $135-million in fake tax returns in “the first two months of 2020 alone.” A scammer only needs your social security number and a few other personal tidbits to pull it off…and if they’ve got that info…they can do other damage as well. There are protection software packages available out there to help protect you from this.
- Job Scams – This is a biggie right now. To spot a scam, look for these signs: promising a job immediately, guarantees x-amount of cash, says you can “work from home,” or asks for a credit card to “cover upfront costs.”
Oh…and if you happened to be a scammer, or are thinking scams are a good way to make a living… just know we can’t stand you.