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Military Finances 101: Protecting Yourself from Scams

Managing Your Finances

Today's Post is Written by Tonia Peasley, our soon to be Financial Coach


There never seems to be a lack of new attempts by scammers to try to con people.  We at C.L. Sheldon & Company know our clients are usually on point to figure these out quickly, but it might be worth mentioning to your children and parents so that they are aware of the tricks that scammers use.  

The IRS has provided new guidance for individuals to warn of a couple new scams that are going around.  For example, the SSN hustle.  This latest twist includes scammers claiming to be able to suspend or cancel the victim’s Social Security number. In this variation, the Social Security cancellation threat scam is similar to and often associated with the IRS impersonation scam. It is yet another attempt by con artists to frighten people into returning ‘robocall’ voicemails. Scammers may mention overdue taxes in addition to threatening to cancel the person’s Social Security Benefits. 

The next scam is the fake tax letter sent from The Bureau of Tax Enforcement, an agency that doesn't exist.  The letter looks remarkably close to a letter the IRS issues, but in this case, The Bureau of Tax Enforcement, is not a legitimate organization. The problem is, the address for the agency doesn't add up nor does the information about having a "tax lien" due to delinquent taxes owed.

Scammers use all types of vehicles to scam people.  In the latest scamming attempts, the first is a phone call with a "pre-recorded" message, the second is a letter sent by mail.  The IRS does not leave pre-recorded, urgent or threatening messages, nor do they use 3rd party fake agencies to collect debts owed to the IRS.

Knowing what forms of communication agencies use will help you or your family members identify fraudulent claims.  The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.  Only in special circumstances, will the IRS ever send someone out for a visit.  The situation would have to be pretty dire for that action to take place.

So, how should you respond to one of these scams.  Taking advice from the IRS directly, if you receive a call from a scammer, Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.  You can then send an email with the fake phone number to phishing@irs.gov (Subject: IRS Phone Scam).  You can also forward any emails for IRS scams to this address.



If you liked this article, you might enjoy the following blog posts:

Military Finances 101: Are Identity Theft Protection Services Worth It?


Military Finances 101:  SGLI


Military Finances 101:  The Insurance Triangle




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