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Fri, Feb. 28

Among the scams out there: IRS, traffic ticket fraud

KINGMAN - Scammers are persistent and creative, consistently coming up with new approaches to the same objective: Ripping people off.

One well-reported scam involves someone impersonating an IRS agent who threaten the people they call with immediate consequences if they don't pay a tax bill that is, in fact, bogus.

The IRS recently reported a variation: In this one, the fake IRS employee calls to verify information on your tax return so they can process your refund in a timely manner. Then they try to get you to provide sensitive information, such as a Social Security number, or bank or credit card information.

That's not how the IRS works. No one from the agency will call or email you to demand payment, verify information or ask for sensitive personal information. The IRS sends letters.

As it's tax time, these scams might pop up more often. The IRS has received at least 896,000 phone scam reports since 2013 and have documented more than 5,000 victims who lost, collectively, more than $26.5 million.

Kingman accountant Don Lynch forwarded two other scams he's seen recently:

• An email purports to be from "a local Traffic Violation Bureau." It says that the "bureau's" cameras "have detected that the driver of the vehicle associated with your personal number on March 10th, 2016 has committed a violation of the rules with a code: 59825."

It then says that the information will be passed on to local police, and it includes an attachment that supposedly contains a report and documentation. It's a ZIP file and probably contains something malicious.

• Another phishing email says that the recipient has an unpaid balance with an unspecified company.

An attached file is described as containing an invoice, but it actually harbors a computer virus.

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