March 26, 2024

Happy New Year! Ready for the next wave of scams? Scammers have been tuning up for weeks and their efforts are coming to life.

Jan. 1 is a significant date for most of us and one that criminals anticipate. With the tax year ending, many are collecting paperwork for filings and anticipating receipt of necessary forms.

Beware of email messages, text messages and telephone calls from government agencies such as the IRS and the Social Security Administration.

The notices may carry alerts regarding unpaid tax bills, incomplete paperwork, benefit changes, or a need to update files. Often the messages carry dire warnings of fines or arrest if you fail to comply immediately and just the receipt of such a warning can be emotionally traumatizing and establish a degree of fear.

These notifications should be seen as a four-letter word in your vocabulary: SCAM! Government agencies use the U.S. Postal Service for communications, not text messages, emails or phone calls. They will not threaten you with comments like, “Failure to immediately respond will result in imprisonment.”

There a few very simple steps to take:

— If you receive a phone call, hang up and don’t worry about being rude; if a text message or email, simply close the device window (don’t immediately erase the message).

— Use a reliable contact number and call the agency or…

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