Unfortunately, cyber security threats can increase during tax season, and scammers tend to target older adults. Tax, Social Security, and retirement account scams can be financially devastating and very difficult to correct, so know how to avoid them. Awareness is crucial – don’t fall for these online scams.
Phishing is a scam where criminals attempt to trick you into giving out your personal information by impersonating businesses or government agencies through email. Beware of emails that appear to be from the IRS asking you to click on links or provide personal information. These links can install malware on your computer or phone, and your personal information could end up in the wrong hands. Keep in mind that a phishing email might look like it’s from the IRS, but the IRS doesn’t contact taxpayers through email. Scams might ask for your personal information or ask you to sign in to an online account by clicking on a suspicious link.
Social Security Scams
You know to keep your Social Security card and number safe, but criminals are always developing new methods of tricking people. One method is by calling retirees and claiming to be a Social Security Administration employee. The caller might say that your Social Security number has been suspended due to fraudulent activity and ask you to confirm your number, or else they will suspend payments. Other times the caller might claim that the Social Security Administration’s computers are down, and the government needs to confirm your personal information in order to continue sending you payments.
Retirement Account Fraud
It’s becoming harder for cybercriminals to get ahold of bank accounts, so some are turning to retirement accounts. And, if your retirement savings have been stolen, there’s no guarantee of getting it back. People may not check their 401(k) balance as often as they check their bank account, so it could take them longer to realize that something is amiss. Make a habit of checking your 401(k) account and making sure everything looks correct. Be careful with sensitive information like Social Security numbers and bank account information and consider the third-party institution you’re giving this information to and if it will be secure. Opt for multi-factor identification for online accounts.
Remember that these are just some of the cyber scams out there. We need to work to protect our money from cyber theft, as well as market downturns and other threats. Sign up for a complimentary review to speak to us about your retirement concerns and create a plan to address them.