Cyber Security Scams to Watch For in Early 2022

Cyber Scams 2022

As the internet becomes more sophisticated, criminals are coming up with more sophisticated ways to take your money. Other scams have been around for years or even decades.

At Napoli Shkolnik, our mission is to represent wronged people. Usually, that means obtaining fair compensation for accident victims and holding reckless companies responsible for the injuries they cause. Our goal is also to inform people about some cyber scams and other dangers that affect us all.

False Vaccination Cards

With the President’s vaccine requirement set to take effect soon, the market for black market vaccine cards has heated up.

Furthermore, to international travelers, a vaccine card is almost as important as a passport or visa. The CDC already requires vaccination cards in some cases.

Until recently, many domestic screeners, like employers, didn’t look too closely at vaccine cards. But the aforementioned large employer mandate changed the environment.

Since employers now could face stiff penalties for allowing unvaccinated people to work, they are looking at cards more closely. Some telltale signs of a fake card include:

  • Missing critical information, like the manufacturer lot number, shot date, or vaccine provider identification,
  • Misspellings,
  • Inconsistent dates,
  • Unfamiliar provider or manufacturer names,
  • Cards that are printed on paper or otherwise don’t “feel” real,
  • Scissor marks, and
  • Cards with no handwritten information.

One of the best ways to spot a counterfeit card is to study real cards. Knowing what the real thing looks like makes it easier to spot illegal copies.

Incidentally, it’s not just a federal offense to make or sell a fake vaccine card. It’s also a federal offense to present one.

Income Tax Scams

January 24 marks the official beginning of tax filing season 2022. That date also marks the beginning of tax fraud season.

In late 2021, in anticipation of the approaching filing season, the IRS warned individuals to be on the lookout for the following tax scams:

  • Pandemic Scams: Economic impact payments, like stimulus checks and advance child tax credit payments, were nice while they lasted. But for the most part, they are over now. So, any information you receive about an EIP is most likely a scam.
  • Personal Information Theft: Usually, these scammers don’t ask for your Social Security number or something blatant like that. Instead, they just need one final piece of the puzzle, like a credit card PIN number. Speaking of PIN numbers, most taxpayers are now eligible for IRS-issued Identity Protection PINs. Click here to learn more.
  • Unsuspecting Victims: Tax scammers often target vulnerable individuals, like older adults and immigrants. A good rule of thumb is to assume every communication you receive is fraudulent, unless you corroborate it.
  • Unscrupulous Activities: Some scammers use tax loopholes, like syndicated conservation easements and micro-captive arrangements, to skirt tax laws. Basically, an SCE inflates the value of undeveloped land, and a micro-captive arrangement is an illegal insurance contract.

Usually, the best way to avoid tax scams is to file your return as early as possible and take your refund off the table.

Text/Email Scams

We mentioned the informal presumption-of-fraud rule above. This analysis also applies to text message and email scams.

Additionally, fake texts and emails usually have some red flags. Emojis are a good illustration.

Many scammers use emojis to help their messages stand out. Emojis are usually cute when they are from friends and family. But reputable businesses almost never use them in official correspondence.

We hope you have a safe and prosperous 2022. If you or a loved one need a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in New York, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC.