Identity Theft Scam Method: Making Work Pay Refund

downloadI don’t know of anyone who loves to pay taxes. In fact, I would classify this with getting a root canal; however there is something that is much worse, and that is being scammed by the new Making Work Pay refund scam, and you must know of it to keep from being a victim.

Most scams we have received are those that come by the Nigerian scam artists but now we are seeing fake IRS mails. These guys have a lot of guts and the problem is that many people are falling for these scams. These new IRS scams are all over the place and they can really scare people into parting with their hard earned cash.

Just know a few simple facts and you won’t fall for these scams either. First and foremost, the IRS does not have your email address. They don’t know it and have no intention of finding out just so they can send you an email. They would much rather send you a registered letter or use the phone. This one rule means that any email that supposedly comes from the IRS is a scam. You can also call the IRS and confirm that they sent it to you.

There are actually a few IRS scams but one of the most effective is the Making Work Pay Scam. This is fashioned after the stimulus package. Fortunately, the real package appears in your paycheck and is deducted from your with holdings. However, in the scam you receive an email that tells you that you are owed a refund. You are then required to send in your name, social security number and give your bank account information.

This in effect, lets the scam artist take over your entire identity. He can access your bank account, create new credit accounts, make new credit cards up and put you into debt quickly. However this isn’t the worst part of the scam. Having someone steal your identity and your financial records can create long lasting problems. It can create long lasting debt, financial loss, problems with the IRS and someone could even perform criminal acts in your name.

In conclusion, just don’t pay attention to scam emails no mater how good they sound. Remember, your mothers saying: “If it sounds too good to be true it usually is.” This holds especially true with anything we receive over the Web.

If in doubt about anything you might receive from the IRS go to www.IRS.gov and look at the real forms, and revise any scams that may be out. Please report any scam you may receive to the authorities and don’t assume they already know about it.  Get protected today with a credit protection plan from IdentityGuard.  Free for 30 days.

Common Charity Scams

blogpost_102614_holidayfraud1Among the many types of scams and identity theft gimmicks is the Charity Scam. This is another relatively new type of scam, but one that is fleecing people right and left. This is one that you need to be on the lookout for, especially now that the holidays are near.

Fake charity scams look legitimate. They have legitimate websites and emails so they look real and even imitate other legitimate charities. Some of these identity theft specialists even have ID cards with the charity name and logo. What makes these thieves so good at what they do is that they use several methods to draw in their victims including using non Internet related methods of collecting money, just as a charity would. They set up booths at the local department store, use the phone to solicit charity, and even go door to door. The methods used by these scammers make it difficult to distinguish them from the real charity. However there are a few things you can do to try and protect yourself against the charity scam.

Be Aware of All Aspects of Identity Theft and All Types of Scams

The best way to fight against internet theft and different types of scams including the charity scam is to be aware of the problem. By being aware of the scams you will also be wary and this will protect your interests. Always ask for credentials and for the address and phone number of the charity. You want to ask whether it is registered and get that number. Then call your Better Business Bureau and check the registration. Another great source of information about charities is www.give.org. Call the charity up and ask whether they are indeed soliciting funds, or whether they are having a charity fund that is going on.

Get a Receipt and Don’t Donate Cash

You don’t want to donate cash to the charity; instead you want to offer a check. This way you can be sure that only the registered charity can cash the check. This gives you a record for your tax return, and ensures that there is actually a charity behind the donation drive.

Ask the Right Questions

Don’t just hand over money and walk away. Find out what percentage of the donation actually goes to help the foundation or the people. A real charity will be able to answer this question easily because they are used to having it asked of them.

Careful with Email Requests

You really need to be cautious when it comes to internet requests for donations. These are emails sent out and usually claim to be raising funds for a local charity. To verify this information before sending money you should call the local charity.

When you really know how to protect your identity, then you will have done some planning in advance. You may want to sit down and choose the charities you want to donate to at the beginning of the year. This way you will have already made up your mind and decided where you are going to donate, so when you get asked for donations you can claim that you have already committed to other charities.

Try a free credit monitoring & identity protection plan for 30 days and see how you can improve on the protection and security of your identity and sensitive personal data.

Home Improvement Schemes & How to Avoid Them

home-improvement-scams-how-you-can-avoid-being-fooledEver been caught off guard by the supposed contractor whom you have paid upfront to fix something, and he either never shows up or does the job wrong. Well, there are contractors out there whose sole aim is to – rip you off – and you need to stay away from these thieves.

Most security experts will tell you that one of the most common methods that are used in identity theft is that of home improvement schemes. In fact home improvement fraud ranks among the top three as the most used type of fraud. There are many types of fraud that fall into this field and have left many homeowners thousands of dollars lighter in the pocket. To avoid being a victim of the home improvement scam here are a few tips you can use.

The Free Inspection

There are many legitimate businesses that offer free inspections or estimates. You should still avoid advertisements that offer free inspections of roofing, foundation, air conditioning systems and anything else. An inspection takes a lot of time and work, so you need to be aware of this. Sometimes free inspections are a gimmick so scammers can get into your house look at the items there and find out more about your personal life. It is very easy for them to pick up personal information, credit card bills, bank information, etc, while using this ploy.

Internet Advertising

Some times a fake home improvement company will contact you through email and try to make an appointment to see you, your home and the problem. These are very insistent, and the scammer is often looking for unsecured Wi-Fi connection, financial statements and information. You can avoid this by not clicking on a link sent to you and not making an appointment right there over the phone. Instead take a number and call them back. Find out more about the business and check with your local Better Business Bureau.

Stay Away from the Door to Door Contractor

It sounds easy to believe when the contractor knocks on your door and says he noticed your gutters needed work. He obviously noticed because he has been working in the area. All he needs is for you to sign a simple contract, give out personal information, and you have suddenly become fleeced. Remember, most contractors are going to be way to busy to go calling door to door and prefer their new customers to come from referrals.

Beware of the Contractor who Has No Credentials

You have to ask for referrals for past work experience. You should be very leery of contractors who have no past work experience or anything they can show as their past experience. A true contractor will show you before and after photos and even give you the telephone of previous customers. To avoid becoming a victim of this type of scam be sure to ask a contractor for is credentials, associations, and ask to see previous work samples. Always check a contractor out.  Keep your identity safe from all sorts of scams.  Get free 30 day credit monitoring today.

Identity Theft by Fake Job Offers

When you work at home, or freelance then you are extremely familiar with the fake job offers online and you know to beware of these, but new people joining the work at home teams often don´t know that there are lots of fake job offers out there. There are several types of fake job offers from the small time scammer who just needs a job done, and does not intend to pay to the identity theft scam.

Many identity theft, or credit card scammers use the fake job offer to get cohorts to help them get away with their scam. They are what we call “Mule jobs” where you may believe you are simply working for a small import export company, and may receive packages and then forward them to an address out of the country. Usually these packages have computer goods or electronics that are bought with a stolen credit card. Low and behold you think you have a pretty simple part time job until the FBI shows up and arrests you for credit card theft.

Another of these fake jobs scams is the one where you apply for a job and then are required to get a great deal of computer equipment from the employer in order to get the job done. You end up spending thousands of dollars and then the job never pans out.

Of course, everyone now knows of the Nigerian scam. In this scam people from many countries were arrested although it seems that a few got loose because they still try to use variations of the scam. This is the one asking you to receive millions of dollars of inheritance money because the poor schmuck can’t receive it in his country. In exchange you get a portion of those millions. Apparently according to reports this scam netted almost 500 million dollars from people all over the world.

Scams are getting even more detailed; professional looking and can fool many. Now there is a scam that offers jobs in oil and other types of companies offering incomes form $45,000 and more with many incentives.

Most emails sent with this came offer guaranteed employment if you deposit a certain amount of money. These companies only distribute your resume to prospective employees. However they do this with thousands of resumes.

To avoid these types of scams you don’t ever want to offer these people your PayPal account, your personal bank information, or credit card number. Remember you never have to give money to get a job. Freelance sites may require a membership fee, but the employer will not require any type of fee from you

Stay aware of what is going on and what the new identity theft frauds are, this way you will keep yourself safe from these scammers. Start creating your own client base so you don´t have to work with too many new clients, and you will know who tries to scam and who doesn´t. Sometimes falling into a work scam is unavoidable, and it can just be chalked up to a life experience.  Don’t fall victim to identity theft.  Get protected today with a quality credit & identity monitoring plan that will alert you if you’ve potentially become a victim.

Bank Phishing Scams

Recently there has been an influx of scams that refer to banks and the IRS, specifically W-8BEN form. The scam is used to try and trick taxpayers into giving out their bank information and personal information. The scammer then uses the information to steal the persons identity and to clear out his bank account.

The IRS has information on the scam and realizes that it is happening all over the nation. In the scam the thieves send an email which looks like it comes from the Taxpayers bank. It states that the bank is updating records and that they want to help taxpayers in their exemption of having their interest profits taxed. Currently a bank has to declare gained interest and report it to the IRS. Taxpayers then must include this as income.

The phony email includes an attached form that purportedly comes from the IRS, then proceeds to request personal information and bank information. The scam is difficult to see through because it goes on to request that the information be faxed to a number within seven days. As most banks prefer that personal information be faxed it is easy to fall for this scam.

The scheme then allows the thief to impersonate the victim and get access to his finances. The Purported tax forms are called W-8BEN or W/9095 and are attempts at mimicking genuine tax forms.

The email sent with the W-8BEN form has had a greater success rate because it preys on foreign residents. Because foreigners are more wary and concerned about mail sent by the IRS. The W-8BEN form is a legitimate IRS form for foreigners which is a certificate of foreign statis of beneficial owner for the United States Tax Withholding. The legitimate form is used by banks to make sure that the non U.S. customers meet the requirements to continue to remain exempt from tax reporting. Unfortunately the scam artist W-8BEN has been changed to request information from the victims whereas the original form does not.

To avoid this scam you should go to the IRS website at www.irs.gov and look at the real forms and compare them to the forms you have receive. When you do receive one of these scams report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration investigations at 1-800-366-4484. Also, sign up for id theft prevention services to help stay alerted to potential fraud & identity theft issues

Be aware that if you do send your personal information, a scam artist can take over your financial accounts, run up charges on credit cards, and apply for loans and credit cards using your name. He can even file fraudulent tax returns.

If you have already been victimized then you should contact the fraud or security department of your creditors, and financial institutions. You should also contact the local police department, or the TIGTA.