BBB warns of IRS, email scams

Organization recommends people verify offers to make sure they're legitimate

ROANOKE, Va. – Scammers are working hard to steal your money, and one of the biggest scams right now involves fake IRS notices and people filing fraudulent tax returns.

Julie Wheeler, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Western Virginia, said thieves are even having money from fraudulent returns deposited into people's own bank accounts to confuse them.

"Then a debt collector calls you and says 'That’s not your money. You need to wire it or pay us back or you’re going to be in trouble with the IRS,'" Wheeler said.

She said scammers continue to use caller ID spoofing to try to steal people's money and identity. Spoofing is when someone changes the caller ID number to one that's not the actual number. 

"You cannot assume that any of that is legitimate," Wheeler said. "You have to do some independent verification."

She said phishing scams, which often use an email that appears to come from a legitimate company and tries to get you to click on links and share your personal information, are also prevalent.

"Those links can take you to fake pages where you put in all of your personal information," Wheeler said. "They can even download malware or keystrokes that can track passwords that you enter or anything you do on your computer."

Wheeler said the best thing you can do is be wary of any offer that seems too good to be true.

"Just be vigilant," Wheeler said. "We all need to be paying attention. We need to assume that whatever offer or solicitation we’re receiving is not legitimate and we need to check it out."

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