Each week, the Identity Theft Resource Center works with some of the top industry experts to provide consumers with updates about threats to their personal data. Scam Detectorleads the way by publishing a top ten list of scams, fraud attempts, and other threats each week, ones that are either new or on the rise. Take a look at some of their more recent top scams or fraud attempts.

#1 – Postal Storage Fee

You receive an email that claims to be from the post office, informing you that the package you never came by to pick up has been waiting for you and that you now owe a storage fee for failing to retrieve it. The email goes on to ask you to verify your identity before you can claim your “mystery” package, and requests all types of highly sensitive personal data. You don’t even remember receiving a notice about a package, but are willing to comply by not only making payment through the link they provided but also handing over your personal identifiable information.

Remember that the Postal Service will never email you and ask for money or sensitive information. If you did, in fact, owe money to a government agency, you’ll receive a letter in the mail. After all, mailing letters is what they do!

#2 – Bank Draft Scam

With the power of the internet, more and more people are able to sell their own high-value items like cars or homes to a broader audience of potential buyers. That means a man halfway across the country could genuinely want to buy your car.

Savvy consumers are sure to demand payment in secured ways, such as a cashier’s check or bank draft, but counterfeit cashier’s checks make it all too easy for the scammer to make off with your car while leaving you holding a bogus piece of paper. If you’re selling a high-dollar item, consider going to the bank with the buyer to verify the authenticity of the cashier’s check, especially if he offers another popular version of this scam in which he presents a cashier’s check for more than the amount and asks you to provide cash back.

#3 – Repair Your Credit Scam

If you’re like the millions of Americans who have a little too much debt hanging over them, you might be tempted to fall for a scam that claims to “fix your credit” for a fee. Online pop up ads for this service are abundant, but all they can do for you is take your money and offer you nothing in return.

Don’t be misled, though; there are legitimate credit counseling services—often provided through government programs and therefore free for consumers—that can set up a system for you to correct your credit. This system will include consolidating debt, instructing you on how to pay off high interest accounts first, and possibly even working with your creditors to lower your interest rate. But anyone who claims to “erase” your bad credit or create a new credit score for you is a scammer.

For the rest of this week’s top scams, visit Scam-Detector.com or the ITRC website under the Current Scams & Alerts section. Be sure to share this information with others so they can stay informed and protect themselves.

Each week, the Identity Theft Resource Center works with some of the top industry experts to provide consumers with updates about threats to their personal data. Scam Detectorleads the way by publishing a top ten list of scams, fraud attempts, and other threats each week, ones that are either new or gaining in popularity. Take a look at some of their more recent top scams or fraud attempts.

#1 – Gas Pump Swap

As if you already didn’t have enough to worry about at the gas pump, this new scam has taken thieves’ imaginations to a whole new level. In this one, you swipe your credit card—after verifying that the card reader hasn’t been tampered with and a skimming film installed, of course—and end up paying to fill up the thief’s car.

Before you arrive at the pump, the thief actually switches the nozzles so that a pump from his side is now in position facing your car, and your gas nozzle is in place in his car’s gas tank. When you swipe your credit card and begin fueling, you’re actually filling up his car!

There are many, many reasons to be mindful of your surroundings at a gas station, and this is just the latest one.

#2 – iPhone 7 Testers

This scam can take on many, many different forms, but it still amounts to a something-for-nothing scam. This one involves pop-up or sidebar ads seeking internet users to test the new iPhone 7. After clicking the ad and filling out a brief survey, you’re directed to a screen that congratulates you for being selected to test the new device.

On that screen, you just have to fill out the registration form for them to mail you the phone. You’ll be asked to provide a credit card number to cover the cost of shipping, and of course they’ll need some personal identifying information to go with it.

This is a complete scam, run by identity thieves who will sell your information or use it themselves. Do you really believe that the Apple corporation—a worldwide tech giant who has more cash on hand in reserve than the US government—needs to solicit strangers on the internet to test out its products? No, they don’t, but thieves are hoping your desire for a brand-new iPhone will make you overlook that.

#3 – Tuition Scams

This is the time of year when scammers play off your back-to-school mindset. In two different variations of the scam, your tuition (or that of your child) is at stake.

In the first version, a caller claiming to be from the school’s registrar’s office contacts you after conducting a simple records search or a Facebook search for the name of your or your child’s school. By stating that your last tuition payment didn’t go through or that your financial aid/scholarship was cancelled, the caller tricks you into thinking you’re about to lose your spot for a school year that starts in only a matter of days. Due to this urgency, you’re told to pay over the phone by credit, via a prepaid Visa card, or wire transfer.

The other version works in reverse: you or your child are suddenly eligible for financial aid, grants, or scholarships, and you must pay an administrative registration fee to submit your instant over-the-phone application.

Remember, this is not how financial aid works. If your aid has been cancelled or you were suddenly found to be ineligible, you will be provided with that information via a letter sent through the postal service. If you are found to be eligible for aid you didn’t know about, again, you will receive a mailed letter with the application and instructions. Anything else smells of a scam and should be treated as such.

For the rest of this week’s top scams, visit Scam-Detector.com or the ITRC website under the Current Scams & Alerts section. Be sure to share this information with others so they can stay informed and protect themselves.

Each week, the Identity Theft Resource Center works with some of the top industry experts to provide consumers with updates about threats to their personal data. Scam Detectorleads the way by publishing a top ten list of scams, fraud attempts, and other threats each week, ones that are either new or gaining in popularity. Take a look at some of their more recent top scams or fraud attempts.

#1 –Vehicle History Report Scam

This scam is making the rounds again, and the sad thing is it’s not technically a crime, at least not one that’s easy to prove. In this scam, which affects people who are selling a vehicle (typically through an online want ad, although it could be possible through other used car sales forums), a potential buyer for your car says all of the right things, even down to price, test driving, and paying in cash.

There’s just one catch: the person wants a vehicle history report, and is so kind as to mention several places where you can order one based on the vehicle’s VIN number. She even tells you the prices for those websites, and offers to deduct your cost from the purchase price.

The truth is she’s an affiliate, or someone who’s paid a commission by a website to direct traffic through to that site. She makes a percentage of the amount you paid for the vehicle report when you click the link she provides in the message to you.

Sadly, you end up with a vehicle report (which is admittedly useful, if you plan to sell a vehicle) and she gets the commission before suddenly changing her mind about buying your car. To avoid this scam, a) have a reputable vehicle report already in hand to share with the potential buyer, and b) list it in the posting for your car that you already have this report. It will save you the headache of jumping through a fake buyer’s hoops.

#2 – Cloned Debit Card Scam

This scam is a growing concern for investigators as its numbers have increased in the last month. By tampering with a store’s card reader, a thief can access the account information on your debit card and steal your PIN number as well. This scam is particularly prevalent at gas stations where customers pay at the pump, largely due to the fact that the card reader has to be tampered with for the thief to insert the thin film that will download your information. It’s easier to pull this off away from the prying eyes of the clerk, unless the clerk is in on it, of course.

It’s important to note that thieves tend to wait a significant amount of time between downloading your info and actually using it to take money out of your account. The reason is they don’t want their faulty readers to be found; if they took your money immediately, you’d be able to alert the police to which stores you shopped at in the past few days.

The best way to avoid this one is to change your PIN number frequently—which is bothersome, to be sure, but not difficult or costly—and to be watchful for any signs of tampering before inserting your card into the reader.

#3 – Online Lottery Scam

It’s hard to believe that people actually fall for this one, but they do. In the lottery scam, someone emails you or messages you on social media sites like Facebook to tell you that they’ve won the lottery, and they’re just randomly picking people to share it with. Another version at least claims to come from a non-profit agency that received a bulk donation and that their by-laws forbid them from accepting it, so they’re going to give it to you… for some unknown reason.

All they need in order to transfer the money is your name, your email address, your Facebook user name, your email password, and your social media password. It’s that simple!

If anyone ever contacts you out of the blue and asks for your personal information, IGNORE. It’s a scam. There is no prize money, and you’ve just handed your identity to a thief.

For the rest of this week’s top scams, visit Scam-Detector.com or the ITRC website under the Current Scams & Alerts section. Be sure to share this information with others so they can stay informed and protect themselves.

Each week, the Identity Theft Resource Center works with some of the top industry experts to provide consumers with updates about threats to their personal data. Scam Detectorleads the way by publishing a top ten list of scams, fraud attempts, and other threats each week, ones that are either new or gaining in popularity. Take a look at some of their more recent top scams or fraud attempts.

#1 – Surprise Life Insurance Policy

There are quite a few ways that scammers have proven they are the lowest forms of criminals out there, but this scam is taking it to a whole new level. In this instance, someone who has just lost a loved one—typically a spouse, as it makes the scam more believable—is contacted by a representative from a life insurance company. They claim the deceased took out an outrageously high “secret” life insurance policy, naming the victim of this scam as the beneficiary.

Wouldn’t it be romantic to think that a man quietly paid his premiums all these years so that his loving wife would be protected from beyond the grave? It’s the stuff of legends, to be sure.

Unfortunately, it’s not true. The scammer got his victim’s name from the obituary section, and will proceed to tell her that there’s only one problem with the life insurance policy her husband took out. It will either have one final premium that must be paid, or will have administrative costs, or some other plausible reason why the widow must fork over money in order to collect what her husband prepared for her. Sadly, balking at paying the amount can lead to manipulative tactics, such as, “You don’t want to throw away all the money that your husband worked so hard to pay us over the years, do you?”

If you receive a call like this, the easy route is to provide the caller with a mailing address to send you all of the required paperwork on the policy. Offer to take the paperwork to your local probate judge or your attorney before you’ll pay the premium. If genuine paperwork does show up, you won’t have lost anything; if it doesn’t, you won’t have sent money to a thief.

#2 – Credit Score for Financing

It’s vital to stay on top of your credit reports and monitor them for suspicious activity, but it’s especially important that you know your actual credit score if you plan to finance any large purchases or take out a loan.

The reason for this isn’t pretty, but it is a reality. When you go to buy a car, for example, the dealership will run your credit report and will base their financing and interest rate on your score. If you don’t know your score, how do you know if you’re getting a good deal or not? What’s to stop the salesman from coming back with a much lower score and explaining that your rate (and therefore your payment and total purchase price) must go up based on that number?

With the availability of credit score reporting through sites like AnnualCreditReport.com, there’s no reason to be taken by surprise—or taken for a ride—when you finance a purchase.

#3 – Facebook Authentication

In this scam, you receive an email or private message with the Facebook logo that says your account is being suspended due to suspicious activity or faulty credentials. You’re provided with a link to click in order to verify your account, but whatever you do, don’t click it! It’s most likely a virus that will infect your computer.

Facebook doesn’t send out this kind of notification, and certainly not with an included link. If you ever receive any kind of message from an organization that tells you to verify your account, do not click. Instead, go to the actual website itself, log in using your own credentials, and make sure everything is okay.

For the rest of this week’s top scams, visit Scam-Detector.com or the ITRC website under the Current Scams & Alerts section. Be sure to share this information with others so they can stay informed and protect themselves.

Each week, the Identity Theft Resource Center works with some of the top industry experts to provide consumers with updates about threats to their personal data. Scam Detectorleads the way by publishing a top ten list of scams, fraud attempts, and other threats each week, ones that are either new or gaining in popularity.

Take a look at some of their more recent top scams or fraud attempts.

#1 – Fake Inspectors or Salespeople

Whether this scam happens in person, via email, or via phone call, it’s rampant and on the rise. In this instance, someone contacts you and claims to work for a particularly well-known business or government office. The scammer needs access to something: your home, your credit card, or even just your account password. There are a wide variety of concocted stories about inspecting your water heater, upgrading your account, verifying your account…whatever.

If you are contacted by someone who wants access to something of yours but cannot show prior approval, it is a scam. Do not let individuals into your home, even if they claim to work for a utility or the local city; politely tell them you need to call the company yourself and verify it. If the scammer is from your bank or credit card company, again, hang up and verify it yourself using a published phone number (NOT one the scammer provides for you as his accomplice could be waiting on the other line).

#2 – DMV Renewal

Having to go to the DMV is so notoriously annoying that it’s become the stuff of comedy. Thankfully, many license and tag offices have caught up to the 21st century and now offer online renewals. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for scammers to figure out how to play off of that technology.

In this scam, you receive a postcard in the mail—just like you probably do every year—telling you it’s time to renew your tag or license. And since the DMV is all about convenience, they’ll offer you a website where you can handle the process online.

Here’s the catch: if you’re not on your state or local government’s approved website—and instead have gone to a website the scammers have setup—you’re about to give your credit card information to a thief.

Always check the website address before you input your credit card or other sensitive information. It should say HTTPS instead of HTTP if it’s a secure site, and any government website will end with “.gov” at the end instead of .com or .org.

#3 – Account Requires Attention

This one is rather old, but still works. Typically, it comes in the form of an email that tells you your account needs to be upgraded, your password changed, or some other fraudulent “security” measure. The email looks legitimate, and even has the company logo. This could seemingly come from your bank, your credit card provider, iTunes, even social media sites like Facebook or email providers like Yahoo. Scammers are essentially throwing darts when they send out these fake emails, hoping that you have one of these kinds of account.

This scam works so well because there are occasionally reasons why you must reactivate, renew, or make other changes to your account. But if you look at the email very carefully, you’ll notice some tell-tale signs that it’s a fake. Poor grammar, missing words, or a web address with extra words or a zero instead of a letter O are all sure signs. You can also tell who the sender is by going back to your inbox and hovering your mouse’s pointer over the sender’s name; even though it might say Facebook, the real address will pop up if you hover.

For the rest of this week’s top scams, visit Scam-Detector.com or the ITRC website under the Current Scams & Alerts section. Be sure to share this information with others so they can stay informed and protect themselves.

Each week, the Identity Theft Resource Center works with some of the top industry experts to provide consumers with updates about threats to their personal data.

Scam Detector leads the way by publishing a top ten list of scams, fraud attempts, and other threats each week, ones that are either new or gaining in popularity. Take a look at some of their more recent top scams or fraud attempts.

#1 – Loan Collections Call

This particular scam affects countless people because, all too often, it works. The beauty of it—at least from the scammers’ points of view—is that the victim doesn’t even have to have ties to the company they claim to work for, although it works better if they do.

Callers claiming to represent payday loan companies reach out to their victims and inform them they are behind in their payments. They demand all manner of sensitive private information, much of which the victim is ready to hand over after they’re threatened with being sent to collections or even law enforcement.

Always remember that phone callers are not entitled to your detailed information like Social Security numbers or credit card numbers. Even if a caller claims to be from a company you conduct business with, you are not required to provide any unsolicited information. If there’s a question about your accounts, call the company personally and confirm any issues.

#2 – Federal Utility Scam

Using phone calls, text messages, and even internet contacts, people who claim to be federal aid workers have been reaching out to people and telling them about a new program under the Obama administration that helps citizens pay their utility bills. In exchange for all their private information, the victims are given a routing number and checking account to use the next time they pay their bills.

Unfortunately, there is no such program. The numbers are fake, and the scammers have taken their victims’ identifying information. Remember to always investigate any new program or offer before taking part, especially the ones that seem too good to be true.

#3 – Bank Card Scam

The thief works this scam by calling a place of business, pretending to be from the company through which they process credit card transactions. He tells them that the line is down, and if they process any credit cards from a specific issuer then they must dial the phone number for approval first. The owner of the card is then required to get on the line and verify their information.

This is a complete scam. You will never be required to speak to an agent of a company in order to make a credit card payment at the point of sale. Also, do not let a salesman, waiter, or manager dial a phone number that you’re not aware of, then request your private data.

For the rest of this week’s top scams, visit Scam-Detector.com or the ITRC website under the Current Scams & Alerts section. Be sure to share this information with others so they can stay informed and protect themselves.

When internet users think of social media, they’re probably envisioning the major names like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. The reality is there’s a host of connection platforms out there, each with its own target audience of users, and each with its own dangers.

Some platforms actually serve double duty. Pinterest, for example, is a great way for individual users to keep up with interesting images and weblinks that they find on the internet, but it’s also a way to connect with people who share similar interests in specific topics. Skype, which started life as a great VoIP communication tool for messaging, chatting, and video calling, also allows users to connect with old friends or meet new people through friend requests.

It’s this misunderstanding of the functions of platforms like Skype that have led to a host of issues concerning cybercrimes, cyberbullying, extortion, and more. If you’ve ever spent any time on Skype you’ve probably already received connection requests from people you don’t know, maybe even people whose user names might seem a little shady (looking at you, “girl4fun23”).

But a quick search through Skype’s help forum reveals a horrifying world of Skype extortion. Essentially, you receive a friend or connection request from someone you don’t know. His or her profile picture is intriguing, though, so you accept the request. You strike up a chat relationship with this person, and then it quickly moves to video chatting. From there, things get a little “heated,” and you and this other individual are eventually enjoying some video face-to-face time that you might not want others to see.

Too bad. This person has been recording your Skype sessions through the platform’s record function. He or she tells you that unless you pay up, the video will be released on your Facebook account, sent to all your Skype connections, posted to YouTube, even emailed to your co-workers or children.

Throughout the Skype forum on this issue, victims shared the same story: within seconds of complying with the stranger’s request for “sensitive” video play, the chat immediately turned to extortion. Some victims were told to wire money by Western Union, sometimes to the tune of hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

Helpful moderators and veteran Skype users had the same advice for everyone: block the individual on Skype and on any other social media sites where you may have connected with them, and delete your Facebook account to keep the person from posting the video to your wall where others could see it. It was also suggested that the victims run an antivirus check of their computers to seek out harmful software.

Fortunately, there were no posts that indicated any of the scammers had taken the steps any further. No one reported that the incriminating video had actually been shared or that they’d been contacted again. That indicates that these scammers are out for a quick victim; if you don’t do what they want, they apparently go on to the next person.

One of the best courses of action for situations like this is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Be careful about connecting with people on social media whom you don’t have a personal or professional connection with, and remember that it’s all too easy to create a fake profile to dupe you into believing this person is kind and genuine. Also, it should go without saying but obviously the reminder needs to be put out there: don’t do anything on the internet that you wouldn’t do in person, in front of a large crowd of people. Nothing on social media is ever “private,” and nothing is ever truly deleted.

Each week, the Identity Theft Resource Center works with some of the top industry experts to provide consumers with updates about threats to their personal data. Scam Detectorleads the way by publishing a top ten list of scams, fraud attempts, and other threats each week, ones that are either new or gaining in popularity.

Take a look at some of their more recent top scams or fraud attempts.

#1 – The Bet You Can’t Scam

There’s a popular meme making its way around social media sites, mostly Facebook, that challenges the users and plays off their natural curiosity. Unfortunately, the consequences of this scam range from nothing more than a mild waste of your time and the relinquishing of your contacts list, to downloading harmful viruses to your computer.

Typically these are simple images that your friends share on Facebook. They’ll have odd, too-simple “challenges” like, “Bet you can’t think of a word that starts with A and ends with E.” Too easy, right? That’s because the original post is designed to lure you into commenting with the first word that pops into your head. Once you comment, the original poster can continue to send you marketing information and can then create posts that reach your friends’ list. It’s mostly harmless, but intrusive.

What is more alarming are the more nefarious ones, like, “99% of people won’t be able to sit through this entire video!” These lures are more dangerous, and may even state that you must be a certain age to view it or that it’s not safe for work (NSFW). Once your curiosity gets the better of you, you click the link to be taken to a video. Clicking the link (or perhaps the video link) can install viruses and malware on your computer, giving scammers the ability to root around through your computer and uncover information about you which can be used to steal your identity.

#2 – Account Upgrade/Account Suspended Phishing Scam

Phishing emails are sent out randomly by scammers who are “fishing” for their next victim. They can send these out to hundreds of thousands of people a day, all hoping that someone takes the bait.

One of the more common phishing emails is the kind that tells you your account has been suspended, is overdue, or needs to be verified or upgraded. These emails may appear to come from PayPal, eBay, Chase MasterCard, or other well-known companies that have millions of customers. Scammers choose them because there’s a good chance you have an account with one of those companies.

If you ever receive an email that tells you your account is in need of some kind of repair, do NOT click the link! Instead, delete the email (even if it claims to contain a reference number you’ll need) and then log into your account on your own and verify that everything’s okay. If you’re still in doubt, speak to an agent from the company by calling a number you have on file.

#3 – Major Event Scam

Any time a major event occurs—such a disaster like the Nepal earthquake, or a significant visit like the Pope’s upcoming US tour—scammers will come out of the woodwork to bilk people out of their money. It may be in the form of donation requests, either electronically or by text message, or in terms of selling you high-priced, fraudulent tickets.

Whenever you’re responding to any kind of newsworthy event, make sure you’re only working with a reputable source. For charitable giving, you can go through a number of sources before donating that will ensure your money reaches those in need. Sources like the Better Business Bureau and the IRS can verify a charity’s status.

For online ticket purchases or event passes, be sure to use established ticketing sites that have verifiable security on their websites before entering your personal details and financial information.

For the rest of this week’s top scams, visit Scam-Detector.com or the ITRC website under the Current Scams & Alerts section. Be sure to share this information with others so they can stay informed and protect themselves.

There’s a new phone scam tactic out there and it’s increasing at a rate that has security experts, law enforcement, and even the banking and financial sectors alarmed. It’s called spoofing, and the consequences range from annoying to life-threatening.

Spoofing occurs when a person manipulates their phone in order to use someone else’s existing phone number to initiate a call to their intended victim. Scammers often use automated software to conduct these spoofed calls, meaning they’re not even sitting at a telephone and dialing the numbers. They can pull off millions of fake calls every month, as one security company found. When you receive a call like this, your caller ID may indicate an individual’s phone number, a company or business phone number, or even a message indicating it’s an unknown phone number, but it’s really someone else on the other end of the line.

The real danger is from a scammer whose phone number makes him appear to be from your bank or credit card company, making you more likely to believe whatever lie he’s about to tell you and trick you into handing over your personal information. Another issue with spoofing is that the caller will wait until you answer and then simply hang up. When you call back, thinking the call was accidentally disconnected, you’re actually calling a foreign country and paying international calling rates.

Unfortunately, another use scammers have for spoofing is simply to pull of spiteful pranks. One man in Washington used spoofing to inform the police he was holding hostages at a certain address. By the time the scenario had ended, a SWAT team had broken into the home of an unsuspecting family, which could have had deadly consequences. A Colorado Springs woman had her phone number stolen and used to call countless people over and over; the multiple victims then called her back repeatedly to tell her to stop harassing them, and some of those callers even threatened her life if she didn’t stop calling them.

So how do you protect yourself from spoofing? If you’re the one receiving the calls, the end result of having your phone number randomly stolen for illegal purposes can be upsetting, and more than one individual has had to change her phone number in order to make it stop. Be sure to report it to law enforcement and your phone provider, though; some scammers have employed phone spoofing in order to commit crimes like fraud, and you want to make sure there’s a record that you were the victim, not the perpetrator.

If you receive a phone call from an unknown number, feel free to ignore it. If it was actually a legitimate and important communication, they’ll leave a message, but be sure you call the number that you have on file if it’s from a business, and not the number that appeared on your caller ID. If you receive a call from a number you know, however, like your bank or credit card company, remember to NEVER give out sensitive information like your account number, your PIN number, your Social Security number, or other personal data. If they’re really calling from your bank, they already have that information and there’s no reason for you to provide it. For many companies, asking for this data actually violates protocol, so the only person who would ask for it is a thief.

You’ve probably seen splashy ads on social media that shout messages like, “Never pay taxes again! Keep your money!” These ads are far from the truth, though, and they’re meant to trick you out of your money while selling you a blatant lie.

Unlike most scams that steal your money, though, this one can even land the victims in hot water. One of the many manifestations of this kind of “no taxes” scam is the Corporation Sole scam. It’s intended as a way to exempt religious organizations from various forms of taxation while also ensuring that the individual religious leader couldn’t have his personal assets seized by creditors of the organization.

The Corporation Sole is being marketed to individuals as a way to avoid paying any income taxes, and as a way to “hide” their assets from creditors, ex-spouses, and more. Unsuspecting victims of this kind of scam are promised insider information on how to take advantage of “legal” loopholes in order to avoid reporting their income, having to pay child support, and other shady dealings. Unfortunately, there’s a double-edged sword to this kind of crime. Citizens are being scammed out of their money to learn how to dodge the tax system either in the form of “exclusive” high-priced live seminars or through expensive online course materials. The problem is, paying someone for the information does not absolve them of the crime if they do go on to attempt to avoid paying their taxes. They’re not only the victims of a scam, they’re also now criminals themselves.

One recent court case actually ended in a guilty verdict and jail time for two such scammers. Gerrit Timmerman, III of Utah and Carol Jean Sing of Nevada were both found guilty of setting up Corporation Sole entities for a fee for their clients; they were sentenced to four years and three years in jail, respectively. Fortunately, the defendants in this case were not able to claim innocence on the grounds that they were not the ones responsible for not paying the taxes. In this instance, simply saying, “I only told people about the plan, I didn’t say they SHOULD do it,” does not cover them.

The IRS publishes information routinely on the top tax fraud scams, which can be found on its annual “Dirty Dozen” list. The Corporation Sole scam has long been on that list for scammers telling individuals they can impersonate a charitable organization. If you’re ever approached with information on how to skirt the system or avoid having to participate in any process that is regulated under the law, seek reliable help immediately from someone who has not only expert knowledge of the subject, but who also doesn’t stand to gain financially from convincing you to break the law.