Getty Images / Ton Photograph

Scams are a scary thing, so you should know these new scams that are trending. It’s easy to think that you could never fall for a scam, but the truth is that scammers are getting better and better and what they’re doing, so it’s getting more difficult to stay safe.

New Scams That Are Trending

Before we get into the new scams that are trending, it’s worth reminding ourselves of some age-old scams. Some scam artists just keep doing the same thing, and they keep getting successful results. The IRS has some good information out about tax-related scams and how to avoid them. On the agency’s official website, they warn that seniors are often targeted in scams. This was true years ago and is still true. On their site, they warn taxpayers not to fall for scams targeting older adults. “Scammers pretending to be government officials, aim to steal sensitive personal information and money,” they state. “By posing as representatives from agencies such as the IRS, or other government agencies, these fraudsters use fear and deceit to exploit their victims.”

Another big scam that’s been around forever is scammers claiming their services are needed to settle with the IRS and “that their debts can be settled for ‘pennies-on-the-dollar’ or that there is a limited window of time to resolve tax debts through the Offer in Compromise (OIC) program.” The IRS says “these promoters are often referred to as ‘OIC Mills.'” In a release, the IRS adds that an Offer in Compromise “mill” will “usually make outlandish claims, frequently in radio and TV ads, about how they can settle a person’s tax debt for cheap. In reality, the promoter fees are often excessive, and taxpayers pay the OIC mill to get the same deal they could have received on their own by working directly with the IRS. This takes unnecessary money out of the taxpayer’s wallet.”

“Too often, we see some unscrupulous promoters mislead taxpayers into thinking they can magically get rid of a tax debt,” IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said in a statement. “This is a legitimate IRS program, but there are specific requirements for people to qualify. People desperate for help can make a costly mistake if they clearly don’t qualify for the program. Before using an aggressive promoter, we encourage people to review readily available IRS resources to help resolve a tax debt on their own without facing hefty fees.”

Now, let’s move onto the new scams to avoid.

  • Watch out for the new 'check cooking scam'

    The AARP warns of a new scam called the “check cooking scam.” The AARP states, “In check cooking, thieves take a digital picture of a stolen check and then use commercially available software to alter it.” It can look super real, but it’s fake. So, how do you stay safe? “Consider using a safer payment method, such as a credit card,” they suggest.

    A check.

    Getty Images / Andrey Popov

  • Look out for the 'delayed-action sweepstakes scam'

    The AARP states also warns of a new sweepstakes scam where “instead of trying to get you to pay taxes or other fees in advance to collect the nonexistent prize, the scammers will ask for personal information so that they can validate you and set up the payout.” Just say no.

    Click and win on a computer.

    Getty Images / Torsten Asmus

  • Watch out for AI-powered scams

    These days, AI scams are big. says today, scammers use technology to “write more convincing and natural-sounding phishing emails and text messages.” They can also “Impersonate the victim’s friend or relative and ask for money as part of a grandparent scam.” It’s scary stuff. Beware of anything that sounds too crazy, as these can often seem far-fetched, but AI makes them look real.

    A computer and AI.

    Getty Images / Userba011d64_201

  • Beware of student loan forgiveness scams says that student loan forgiveness scams are on the rise. They note that, “scammers may contact you via phone or create phony application sites aimed at stealing your Social Security number or your bank account information.” Don’t give out your information. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

    Money and a graduation cap.

    Getty Images / Pla2na

  • Look out for the Paris Olympics scam

    This one is really wild. With the games on the way, scammers can use the games to scam you. The AARP states, “A scammer hacks someone’s email account, and shortly after, all of that person’s contacts will receive the same message — something to the effect of, ‘Hey guys, I’m over in Paris and my wallet got stolen! Can anyone please help me out by sending gift cards or a Venmo deposit?”

    Olympic medal and a man.

    Getty Images / Marcio-Binow-Da-Silva

  • The best way to avoid scams

    Whether the scam is new or old, the best way to avoid it is to stop and think about what’s happening. These scam artists are super good at what they do, but if you just stop for a moment and really think out any actions, you can avoid making a rash decision that could cost you.

    A woman thinking.

    Getty Images / Ridofranz

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