DENVER, COLORADO–On March 21, the Internal Revenue Service released its “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams for consumers to watch out for in 2018. The list reflects many of the local scam trends BBB serving Denver/Boulder observed observed in 2017The first of the IRS’s “Dirty Dozen”—phishing—was BBB’s most-reported scam category last year, constituting 45% of the scams reported in the Denver/Boulder area. The term phishing refers to a broad category of scams in which criminals use electronic communication to solicit personal information such as passwords, banking information, or even social security numbers, from victims. Some of the more memorable phishing scams of 2017 included fraudulent customer service emails sent to customers of Apple and Netflix, prompting recipients to send personal information for service-related reasons. Charity Scams, another item on the IRS’s list, were particularly relevant during 2017 given the number of natural disasters and mass-casualty events that affected consumers across the United States. BBB warns that scammers routinely take advantage of peoples’ generosity during tragedies, and 2017 was certainly no exception. BBB serving Denver/Boulder issued consumer warnings following events such as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, as well as October’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, due to the high potential for fraudsters to solicit donations during such times. In addition, the IRS warns consumers to be wary of phone calls from criminals pretending to be IRS agents and threatening victims with, among other things, arrest and deportation. BBB routinely receives reports from consumers who have received fraudulent threats from scammers claiming to be IRS agents, and the volume of these reports increases during tax season. Additionally, given the current political climate regarding immigration and the status of many undocumented Americans, BBB has identified an increased risk of fraud or extortion for those potentially facing deportation; in September, BBB serving Denver/Boulder published tips for DACA recipients to avoid falling victim to scams. Earlier this month, BBB released its 2017 Scam Tracker Annual Risk Report, which analyzed Scam Tracker Data from throughout 2017 to determine which scams were the “riskiest” for North American Consumers. BBB encourages consumers to visit Scam Tracker to view local scams and submit reports of their own experiences.