Watch out for these two all-season scams
The IRS Swindle
A threatening phone caller “from the IRS” says you’re guilty of tax evasion and must pay a penalty at once with your credit or debit card, or else face jail time or revocation of your driver’s license. Older folks with complex financial lives may pay up, assuming that they did make a mistake on their taxes. Wrong—the IRS never demands payment over the phone. Self-defense: Don’t pay. Report the scam to the U.S. Treasury Inspector General’s office at 1-800-366-4484.
The “Computer Crash” Con
You get a phone call from a self-described “computer security expert” who warns that your Windows PC or laptop may be infected with a fatal virus. You might be asked for money to protect your system or to remove this nonexistent malware. If you agree to download a fix or allow remote access to your computer, the crook can ask for your passwords—and may actually install malware that you then have to pay to get rid of. Self-defense: Hang up on this scammer. No legitimate IT security pro will ever cold-call you in this way.