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According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), phishing is a scam carried out through phone calls, unsolicited email and/or websites that pose as legitimate sites to lure unsuspecting victims to provide personal and financial information.

​Here are some current examples of phishing:

  • If you receive an email from the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP), regarding your personal tax information, it is a scam. TAP never requests and doesn't have access to any taxpayer's personal and financial information.  

  • If you receive a phone call, email message, or any type of contact from the Internal   Revenue Service (IRS) regarding your personal or financial information it  is a scam.

The IRS will never initiate contact with the taxpayer by email, text message or social media to request personal and financial information. These types of scammers should be reported to the FTC at 1-877-382-4357 or 1-866-653-4261.

Complaints can be filled at:



Cyber criminals have stolen 143 million credit records in the recent hacking scandal at the big-three credit bureau, Equifax. ​At this point you must assume that the bad guys have personal information that they can use to trick you.

You need to watch out for the following things:

  • Phishing emails that claim to be  from Equifax where you can check if your data was compromised.

  • ​Phishing emails that claim there is a problem with a credit card, your credit record, or other personal financial information.

  • Calls from scammers that claim they are from your bank or credit union.

  • Fraudulent charges on any credit card because your identity was stolen. 

Five things you can do to prevent identify theft:

  • First sign up for credit monitoring (there are many companies providing that service including  Equifax,  but we can't make a recommendation).

  • Next place a fraud alert with one of the major credit bureaus Equifax, Experian and      TransUnion. ​Placing a fraud alert is free and stays on your credit report for 90 days.

  • ​Check your bank and credit card statements for any unauthorized activity.


​Tech support phone scams are when cybercriminals call claiming to be from either Microsoft or any company that provides some type of computer support services. They offer to help resolve any complications with computers or even sell a software license. If given access to a computer, the cybercriminals can install malicious software that could steal sensitive information or download software that will allow them to take over your computer. A request for credit card information will be asked to bill you for their "services."

Microsoft does not make unsolicited phone calls. For more information regarding tech support scams please visit:  https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/safety/online-privacy/avoid-phone-scams


Ransomware is malware that locks a computer and shows a warning demanding a payment to unlock the computer. When a computer is locked, it is typical for the ransomware warning to state that there has been a violation of federal law, while also displaying a logo from a government agency. Do not pay the ransom! Report ransomware to the Internet Crime Complaint (IC3): 

​For Further Information on Internet Crime Complaint: ​https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

You may need to seek the services of a computer specialist to look at your computer and remove the ransomware.

For more information on ransomware please visit:  http://us.norton.com/ransomware


The arrest warrant scam is when a cybercriminal sends a victim a fake arrest warrant, via email or fax, stating a federal law enforcement officer or an attorney of a government agency wants to arrest them with charges such as money laundering, bank fraud, or missing jury duty. On the arrest warrant, it states to send money to avoid arrest. A valid warrant would be served in person by a U.S. Marshal or other law enforcement officer. 

Do not send money!

Report arrest warrant scams to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the U.S. Marshals Office.

FBI: https://www.fbi.gov/report-threats-and-crime

U.S. Marshal’s Office: http://www.usmarshals.gov/contacts/index.html


Grandkid scams involve the grandparent receiving a call representing your "grandchild" claiming to need money for bail, a medical bill, or situations that involves urgency and money. 

Scammers are good at pretending to be someone that they are not. Scammers will use information found on social media and other resources to sound convincing. The scammers use urgency to pressure you into send money before there is a chance to think and verify the situation. 

In these situations, the best you could always do is stop and think about the situation. Call other family members and assess the situation.


Sometimes scammers will create fake dating profiles in order to trick you. These scams involve meeting someone through an online dating platform and exploit love interests for their scams.  The person will tell you they love you but lives far away because of business or other reasons such as the military.  Eventually, they will ask for money saying it’s for a plane ticket to visit you or some emergency surgery.

These scammers should be reported to the FTC at 1-877-382-4357 or 1-866-653-4261.

Complaints can be filled at: https://ftc.gov/complaint


Census scammers may try to contact you by phone, mail, or home visit, or even direct you to phony websites.

Along with its once-a-decade population count, the actual U.S. Census Bureau conducts more than 130 surveys each year. The biggest, the American Community Survey (ACS), is sent yearly to more than 3.5 million homes. With detailed questions about things like income, assets, job status, household amenities, even your commute, the ACS does set off scam suspicions, but it is legitimate, and relatively easy to verify (see tips on reverse).

No genuine census survey or agent can:

• Ask for your Social Security number, bank, credit card, or account numbers. 

• Ask when you leave for or return from work. 

• Ask for money or donations. 

• Ask for support for a political party. 

• Threaten jail time. 

Any of these is a sure sign that a supposed census taker is looking for ways to steal your identity, money or possessions.

Census fraud can hit at home or at work (the Census Bureau conducts business-related surveys, too). Be especially watchful for impostors in early and mid-spring of 2020, when the actual Census Bureau will be sending out reminders to fill out your form and following up in person at households that don’t respond.


To keep updated with current scams, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides scam alerts you can sign up for via email. ​These scam alerts include information on what to know and what to do about the latest scams.


Call the FTC at 1-877-382-4357 or 1-866-653-4261


For more information visit: