If the people who create scams to steal money from hardworking people and seniors would put their creativity to good use, they might be able to cure cancer.

One of the best ways to protect oneself from telephone scams is to never answer a phone call from "unknown" or from someone you don't know. If the call is legitimate, the caller will leave a message.

One of the newer telephone scams is this: A caller from an unknown number tells you they are with the NSA (National Security Agency) and it is a matter of national security that you allow this caller access to your computer.

If you allow access, the scammers now have control of any personal information on your computer, including your passwords and access to your online banking and credit card information.

Hang up on anyone claiming they need your personal computer for national security and notify the Crestview Police Department or Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office.

The IRS published their annual scam list.

Here are two of the top scams:

•Phishing — Even if the email looks legitimate, if someone is requesting personal information, do not give it out.

If the email has the IRS or a bank logo, call the number from your bank statement or the IRS at 800-829-1040 and talk with them.

Generally, these emails are not legitimate.

In addition, if you receive an email from someone you don't know, it is best to ignore it and leave it unopened.

•The ever-popular phone scam, with criminals pretending you will be arrested if you don't pay an overdue IRS penalty immediately by gift card, iTunes card or wiring money to them.

Remember: The IRS sends letters through the mail. They don't call and threaten taxpayers. If you think you may owe taxes, call and speak with the IRS directly.

Identity theft is always on the rise around income tax time. Keep your Social Security card at home and only give your number to a trusted, legitimate income tax preparer. Many public libraries and senior centers have income tax help.

Never give any personal information that you are uncomfortable disclosing. The more private you keep your personal information, the better.

Be alert for potential scams.

Janice Lynn Crose, a former accountant, lives in Crestview with her husband, Jim; her two rescue collies, Shane and Jasmine; and two cats, Kathryn and Prince Valiant.