5 End of the Year Scams You and Your Family Need to Avoid
As the year comes to a close, you need to be on the lookout for scams. Even though holiday shopping and charitable giving is winding down, cyber criminals are busy looking for opportunities to strike and steal your personal information and money. At the end of the year, scammers start bringing out their old standbys for year’s end because people still respond to them. You and your family need to know what steps to take to ensure you don’t fall for end-of-year scams. Here are some of the most common tricks used. Read on so you and your loved ones can be ready:
1. End of Year Upgrade. This scam involves an phishing email informing you that your software is about to expire, and you need to renew it for a fee. The scammers will try to scare you and tell you that your email account will be closed by Microsoft or something similar.
2. Phone Call Scams. During the holidays and towards the end of the year, hackers will call you directly instead of sending an email. They pretend to be from Microsoft, the IRS, your cellular provider, or some other group that needs your personal information , passwords, or access to your computer. None of these organizations will call you out of the blue. If they do, just hang up on them.
3. Charity Scams. At the end of the year, many people want to contribute to charities. Cyber criminals know this and will send fake charity emails, hoping people will fall for these fake emails and send them money. Avoid this scam by going to the website of the charity you want to donate to or by calling them.
4. Health Benefits Scam. These scams rely on you not knowing your company policies regarding benefits. The scam email informs your that your benefits are about to expire or they need to be renewed. The email has a link to a fake website designed to have you to “log in” and steal your credentials. If you think your benefits have changed, call your company or benefits company directly.
5. IRS Scams. At the end of every year, there are changes to tax laws. Whenever there are changes, expect there to be lots of phishing emails sent out asking for your information to help calculate your taxes or from the IRS asking for money. Visit www.irs.gov to find out more about these scams.
Beware of other scams such as Hotel scams, E-cards scams, and Wishlist scams etc. Make sure you shop from verified online stores and secure web sites. Keep an eye on your bank and other financial accounts. Sign up for fraud alerts on your accounts, analyze your bank statements and contact the bank in case of any suspicious activity. By following this list of year end scams, you will not fall victim to scammers or criminals.
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