News From Our Blog

Image description: The IRS is warning of a phone scam targeting tax payers.
Scammers are calling tax payers and telling them they owe the IRS money and need to pay it immediately through a pre-loaded credit card or wire transfer.
If you don’t pay, the scammers claim you could be arrested, deported or have your driver’s or business license suspended.
Remember, the IRS will never initiate contact with you over the phone, email or social media to request personal information.
Visit IRS.gov to learn more about the scam and how to report it.

Image description: The IRS is warning of a phone scam targeting tax payers.

Scammers are calling tax payers and telling them they owe the IRS money and need to pay it immediately through a pre-loaded credit card or wire transfer.

If you don’t pay, the scammers claim you could be arrested, deported or have your driver’s or business license suspended.

Remember, the IRS will never initiate contact with you over the phone, email or social media to request personal information.

Visit IRS.gov to learn more about the scam and how to report it.

Watch Out for Scams Targeting Military Members or Veterans

There are a number of scams currently circulating that target members of the military and veterans, such as fake military charities, identity theft targeting active service members, and veteran pension scams.

In general, all of these scams try to take advantage of military members by offering to provide a service and then taking your money, while you get nothing in return.

You can learn more about specific scams by visiting the Scams Targeting Service Members or Veterans section of StopFraud.gov.

If you’ve been the victim of a scam, there are a few ways to file a complaint:

StopFraud.gov offers information about how to report financial fraud.

Stock Scams Go Social

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently charged a man with trying to sell $500 billion worth of fake securities on the online social network LinkedIn. It’s a reminder that crime goes where the people go, and the people are on social media websites like LinkedIn and Facebook.

The SEC has advice to help you stay safe from online investment fraudsters.

  • On the Internet, it’s easy for criminals to make scams that look real. Always use caution when considering an investment you found online.
  • Be suspicious of unsolicited offers. If you didn’t ask for it, and you don’t know the source, there’s a good chance of bad intentions.
  • The old rule about too good to be true still stands, even in new media. Compare the promised returns with the returns on well-known stock indexes. More signs of foul play include guaranteed returns and pressure to buy right now.
  • Tighten your privacy settings. Fraudsters can use your private information to steal from you or scam you. “Don’t you remember me from college?”
  • Is a financial service provider trying to Friend you? Feel free to say no. Friending someone can mean you let them see everything about you.
  • When you’re on social media, never communicate your bank account and social security numbers. Always use firm-sponsored communication for brokers and advisers, like the telephone, letters, firm email, and the firm website.
  • Affinity fraud is what the SEC calls it when the fraudster prays on what you have in common, like ethnicity or religion. Even if you know the person, check out everything first. They might have been fooled first.
  • Another trick is manipulating the market with “Pump and Dump.” They’ll talk up a stock that doesn’t deserve it, then sell after everyone buys and the price is high.

If you’re a personal investor who spends time on the Internet, you may want to read these PDFs from the SEC on avoiding fraud and understanding your accounts.

Top FTC Complaints

Rank Category № of Complaints Percentage
1Identity Theft250,85419%
2Debt Collection144,15911%
3Internet Services65,5655%
4Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries64,0855%
5Shop-at-Home and Catalog Sales60,2054%
6Imposter Scams60,1584%
7Internet Auctions56,1074%
8Foreign Money/Counterfeit Check Scams43,8663%
9Telephone and Mobile Services37,3883%
10Credit Cards33,2582%

Each year the Federal Trade Commission shares the list of the most common consumer complaints the agency receives.

For the 11th year in a row, identity theft has been the number one complaint.

You can read the full report (PDF) for more details on the complaints.