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5 latest scams to watch out for right now

From the IRS to home deliveries, how to protect yourself from the newest scams in 2022

by Kurt Knutsson

From FedEx to Facebook to fake charities and sweepstakes – scammers are more creative than ever.

While you may be on the lookout for online scams that involve suspicious emails or links, some of the latest ones look real enough that more people are falling victim to them every day. Each month we’ll round up the latest scams that you need to be on the lookout for, and how you can stop or report them if you find yourself on the other side of one.

These are 5 of the scams that con artists and hackers are currently using to try and steal your personal information.

 

1. IRS Status Relief

irs scam email

As Tax Day approaches, you’re most likely filing your taxes, and hoping for a refund. Unfortunately, scammers know this and are preying on Americans that might be expecting a check.

Phone calls from IRS impersonators aren’t new, but the latest email scam claims that you’ll receive a tax status relief after your financial information has been reviewed. You’ll be asked to submit information to receive your payment, in the case of this email example, a $782.00 grant.

While the Covid-19 pandemic did alter the tax deadlines in 2021 and stimulus checks were issued, you will not be receiving any payment from the IRS via email, text, or phone. Most IRS correspondences go through USPS, and they will never ask for your personal information online through a link.

While a bonus check from the IRS may sound nice, be sure to watch out for these clever emails that are sent from users like “IrsOffice.”

 

2. Fake receipt for a payment

paypal email scam

PayPal is commonly used to send money to friends and family, and for merchants and small businesses. Scammers have recreated PayPal emails and text messages to make it seem like you’ve sent money that you haven’t. In these examples, we see an email that appears to be from “service@paypal.com” about a payment this user had sent for $27.98. Another claims that the user authorized a transaction at Starbucks.

The scam here is to get you to contact the scammers directly by replying to their email or clicking a link. Neither will bring you to a contact page for the actual PayPal customer service but instead will just lead you to the scammers who will ask for your information to cancel the payment you didn’t make.

Even if the email sender and body of the email look legitimate, double-check the actual sender’s email address. Also, be sure to never click a link even if you think it’s real. Always go to the official website (in this case, PayPal.com) and contact customer service directly if you want to verify any purchases.

 

3. Package or Delivery missing

fedex scam text

This scam involves a text message sent from a familiar shipping company like UPS or FedEx that claims a package being delivered to you was returned to the warehouse because you didn’t sign for it.

The text might read “Recover your missing package” or an option to “reschedule delivery” and give you a link to click to track down your delivery. Usually, you’ll then be prompted to provide payment information so the shipment will return to you, but really there’s no shipment at all.

If you ever want to check on a package you’re expecting, look up the tracking number via the shipper’s direct website.

 

4. Fake Sweepstakes

youtube ad scam

While there are real opportunities to enter and win money by entering sweepstakes, some scammers are taking advantage of that and creating advertisements for free sweepstakes contests. One YouTube ad shows how to get a free Coca-Cola mini-fridge. The scam here is you’ll be brought to a website to enter your shipping information, and you’ll be asked to just pay the low price of shipping.

In this case, there is no free Coca-Cola mini-fridge, and your credit card information will be stolen and used for a lot more than a shipping cost.

Always check a company’s website to find official sweepstakes contests, and be wary of advertisements for free products.

 

5. Free gift from a cell phone company

phishing text

This scam is a classic example of phishing, but can easily fool you if the timing is right. In this example, the victim receives a text message claiming to be from AT&T noting that their bill has been paid. They add on a link to receive a gift for paying your bill.

Let’s say you have AT&T and you receive this text shortly after you’ve paid your cell phone bill. This could easily make the scam seem more realistic, and you may not even think twice about clicking the link.

However, the hyperlink clearly leads to a website that isn’t AT&T’s and you likely won’t receive a gift for paying your bill through a text message.

 

 

How to protect yourself

If you’ve already become a victim of phishing or any other scam, be sure to follow our next steps to protect your information from being stolen.

To avoid phishing or ransomware entirely, the best way to protect yourself is to install antivirus software on your devices. Our top choice for Antivirus software is TotalAV. It’s super easy to install and you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’ll have real-time protection, phishing scam protection, ransomware protection plus more. Protects Windows, Mac, Android & iOS Devices. Exclusive deal for CyberGuy readers: $19 your first year (80% off).

 

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