It's tax season, and according to the UCF Police Department, scams are in our midst. UCF Police warns students to be aware of scammers attempting to take away money and tax returns.
Here are some of the most common scams UCF Police have seen:
The "job of doing personal errands" scam works when scammers post internet job offers for personal assistants who work for busy executives. They entice you with promises of earning $400 or more a week; then once they get your bank account information for "payroll" purposes, they raid your accounts and open illegitimate accounts in your name.
The "I need to sell my car now" scam starts with a story of how the scammer is leaving the area for military service, needing money for an ill relative etc. But the offer to sell a vehicle worth about $8,000 for a $2,000 price is fake, so don't be fooled. UCF Police said the car for "sale" often doesn't exist or is a stolen car.
The "I'm a college student moving here to the area" scam often begins on the Internet, and UCF Police said that several students recently have been victims. Here's how it works: When you need a roommate, or are trying to sell something over the Internet, you post an ad online. The scammer says they are moving to the area to start college next semester and will send you a check for deposit. But when the check arrives, the amount is more than what was agreed upon. The check ends up being fake, and therefore when you deposit it into your account and it doesn't end up "clearing," you are now responsible for any money and fees that happened because of the fake check.
The "you have a warrant out for your arrest" scam starts with a caller saying you have a warrant out for your arrest and that it can be cleared up simply by paying a fine. The scammer instructs you to go to the closest grocery store and buy a green dot card, which is a type of prepaid card. The next step is to give the scammer the card's number and security code over the phone. The scammer then uses the money for whatever he or she chooses. If there is a warrant out for your arrest, you are only able to solve it by going through the County Clerk's Office.
A variation of this tactic is for scammers to say that one your relatives has been injured, hospitalized or arrested and needs funds for treatment or bail. UCF Police warns that hospitals and legal systems do not work this way, so don't believe the scam.
If you are a victim of tax return fraud, contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Victims of fake jobs or checks should contact their local police agencies. The UCF Police Department, which is located at 3610 Libra Drive, has a handbook from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on steps victims of identity theft should take to notify credit bureaus and creditors. Online resources are available at www.ftc.gov.
Paige Wilson is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @paigeshortstack or email her at PaigeW@CentralFloridaFuture.com.