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Avoiding schemers on Slam the Scam Day

(WNDU)
Published: Mar. 5, 2020 at 10:16 PM EST
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Because of scams, Americans lost nearly $153 million just last year.

To protect your hard-earned money, 16 News Now is breaking down everything you need to know for national Slam the Scam Day.

Ordinary citizens' phones are ringing all the time, and scammers are getting creative, spoofing caller ID numbers and emails.

So, bottom line – what do you need to watch for?

Scammers may threaten to arrest you unless you pay a fine. They may also demand payment with mailing cash, wire transfers or the big one, retail gift cards.

Remember never to give away any personal information to a stranger over the phone.

When it comes to Social Security, if you really owe money, the agency will send you a letter in the mail.

And if you get a weird call, like all of us do, hang up and report the scam at

.

One scam that has become common around this time of year is the ghost tax preparer, someone who is not certified but does all the paperwork for your tax return, only he or she doesn't sign the return.

As a result the taxes are considered self-filed by the taxpayer. It may not seem like a big deal, and sometimes it isn't, unless something is wrong with the tax return.

Since the taxes are considered self-filed, the taxpayer is then liable for errors.

By law if someone prepares federal tax returns, he or she has to have a valid identification number.

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