Part of your job as a financial advisor is to help your clients protect their financial well-being. An important aspect of that protection is educating your clients about potential scams. Scams are always a concern, but clients should be more vigilant during tax season. You can help your clients avoid scams by teaching them some basics.
The IRS will not call, text, or email them
Tax scams are a year round occurrence. They’re so common that the IRS has an entire web page dedicated to informing the public about them. Scammers know that many people fear the IRS, and they count on that fear to make victims act without thinking. Let your clients know that for legitimate issues first contact is usually via direct mail. The IRS won’t initiate contact via text or social media, and they don’t do unsolicited calls or emails.
Don’t volunteer information to unknown parties
Potential victims may receive calls, texts, emails, or social media messages from strangers or spoofed numbers/accounts. If this happens, don’t volunteer any information. Scammers can use information they receive to their advantage. They may use it to better personalize future scam attempts or to hack into accounts. Scammers may even see it as a sign that they are building rapport which leads them to continue targeting that person.
Student loan help is free
Let your clients know that legitimate student loan assistance is free. If someone calls them offering help for a price, they should hang up. Clients should also know that their loan servicer is the best source for addressing any concerns they may have.
Don’t call unverified “support” numbers
This is a newer scam that preys on the desire to speak to a real person when something is wrong. It works because many companies don’t offer phone support or only offer it to specific customers. To protect your clients from this scam, teach them to avoid calling numbers they didn’t find on the company’s website. You can also advise them of other ways to reach out. They can:
- Use the chat option on the company’s website
- Send a direct message to the company’s verified social media account
- Send an email using the contact information on the site.
Scams and scam artists are constantly evolving. They take advantage of changes in technology just like everyone else. While it’s not always easy to protect your clients from scams, teaching them to protect themselves is a critical part of maintaining client trust and loyalty.
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