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Thread: Today's SCAM Alerts

  1. #1
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    Today's SCAM Alerts

    Recognize Phishing Email Scams

    ANNAPOLIS (November 28, 2017) - The IRS reminds taxpayers to be on the lookout for new, sophisticated email phishing scams that can compromise personal information and affect a taxpayer's refund. This week is National Tax Security Awareness Week and the IRS is partnering with state tax agencies, including the Maryland Comptroller's Office, and other industry stakeholders to remind people about the importance of data protection.

    "One of my top priorities as Comptroller is to stop cyber thieves from tricking Marylanders with bogus emails seeking personal financial information," said Comptroller Peter Franchot. "Working together with our federal and state partners, we will hold accountable these scammers who take advantage of law-abiding taxpayers."

    Phishing attacks use email or malicious websites to get personal information from the user. Typically, the criminal fools someone into believing the phishing email is from someone they trust. The emails often look and feel like authentic communications, but these targeted messages can trick even the most cautious person into doing something that may compromise data.

    Taxpayers should be vigilant and skeptical. Even if the email is from a known source, they should use caution because cyber crooks are very good at mimicking trusted businesses, friends and family.

    Here are six examples of email phishing scams:

    -- Emails requesting personal information. The thief might ask for bank account numbers, passwords, credit cards and Social Security numbers. This is the most common way thieves steal data.

    -- An email urgently warning the recipient to update online financial accounts at a hyperlink provided in the email. The link goes to a fake site.

    -- A message with an email address spoofing a familiar address to look like trusted businesses, friends and family. The fake address has a slight change in text, such as name@example.com vs narne@example.com. Merely changing the "m" to an "r" and "n" can trick people.

    -- Emails saying the recipient has a tax refund waiting at the IRS or that the IRS needs information about insurance policies. The IRS doesn't initiate spontaneous contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information.

    -- The message has hyperlinks that take someone to a fake site. In one example, the email says: "Following recent calculations, we notice that you are eligible to receive a tax refund. In order to start the refund procedure, please visit this link and follow the steps required." The link goes to a fake site. The IRS doesn't send emails asking for refund verification.

    -- The message includes a PDF attachment that may download malware or viruses. Never open an attachment from a suspicious email address.

  2. #2
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    Lottery Scam

    Recently, a citizen was mailed a letter indicating they had won 4.5 million dollars from a European PowerBall. The letter states there was a mix-up with the drawing of the PowerBall number, and tickets, as a result, the citizen has now won third place. The letter requested phone contact or email, to begin the process to claim the prize. If contact is made, the "lottery employee" will request items such as bank account numbers, credit card numbers to pay the fee to transfer money, and personal information to verify you are the winner. While the letter may appear to be authentic the Federal Trade Commission and Mega Millions Lottery Game warn it is a fake.

    Mega Millions offers these tips to avoid being a victim of this scam:

    -- If someone says you have won the lottery, but you have never played, be suspicious. You cannot win a legitimate lottery if you have never purchased a ticket.

    -- If advised to keep your "win" confidential, be suspicious.

    -- No real lottery tells winners to put up their own money in order to collect a prize. If you have to pay a fee to collect your winnings, you haven't won.

    -- If they offer to wire the "winnings" directly to your bank account, do not give them your bank account information.

  3. #3
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    Callers Posing as County Water and Sewer Representatives

    Urgent Message to Calvert County Water and Sewer Customers

    Phone scammers posing as representatives of Calvert County Government's Water & Sewerage Division have been targeting some water and sewer customers. A few customers have received threatening calls or messages to immediately pay their water and sewer bills or their service will be shut off.

    Please do not fall for these scams. If you receive a phone call from a name or number you do not recognize, use caution.

    Be assured the Calvert County Division of Water & Sewerage will never:

    -- Demand immediate payment over the phone or by email

    -- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone or by email

    -- Verify your identity by asking for personal and financial information

    -- Require you to use a specific payment method to settle your account balance, such as a prepaid debit card or credit card

    -- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups for not paying.

    If you receive a call and believe it is not legitimate, please hang up and call the Water & Sewerage Division at 410-535-1600, ext. 2329 or ext. 2554. We will discuss your account and payment options with you.

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