Preventing Fraud

Scammers are always looking for new ways to gain access to your personal information or to trick you out of your money. A recent scam involves people coming to your door posing as IRS agents. Another involves individuals going through neighborhoods selling driveway sealing services, that are substandard, at best, and likely no more than paint.

Remember every door-to-door solicitor in Bowie must be licensed and must carry and display proof of that license. Report violators to the City’s Code Compliance Office at 301-809-3008. Trust your instincts. If something does not look right or does not sound right, close the door, hang up, or otherwise disengage. Ask someone you trust, such as friend or family member, before parting with your money or signing a contract.

scam alert

10 Tips to Avoid Fraud

The Federal Trade Commission offers a great list of tips to help you avoid fraud. The basics are listed below. The full article is on their website.
  1. Spot imposters. Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust like a government official, a charity or a company you do business with.
  2. Do online searches for scams, using words that describe your situation.
  3. Don’t believe your caller ID. It can be easily faked.
  4. Don’t pay upfront for a promise. Be suspicious of offers for a service, a loan, a prize, a job or anything else when you did not initiate an inquiry.
  5. Consider how you pay. Requests for payment by gift card or wiring money are not normal.
  6. Talk to someone you trust before making a decision.
  7. Hang up on robocall sales pitches.
  8. Be skeptical about free trial offers.
  9. Don’t deposit a check you receive in exchange for wiring money to someone.
  10. Sign up for free scam alerts from the Federal Trade Commission at

The IRS has published information about how to verify that it is really the IRS contacting you. For more information about other scams involving your taxes or the IRS, visit the IRS website.