With the way that 2020 has been hitting the world with disaster, I do not really want to talk about another one. In the wake of the pandemic, wildfires, and hurricanes, though, scams have popped up to try to take advantage of those most unfortunate situations. This then is a reminder to remain vigilant.
One thing to keep in mind to protect yourself is that most scams start with contact out of nowhere. For instance, there are many instances of individuals posing as representatives of fake charities. Now, when is the last time a charity you did not have a relationship with actually called you out of nowhere?
Of course, this isn’t an unheard-of occurrence, but it is rare. So, if you get a call soliciting money and you do not know how they got the means to contact you, it is a good idea to not immediately open your wallet.
This is not to say you shouldn’t donate, though. In fact, if you felt compelled by the pitch to give money – give it. Just spend some time online doing some research to find a reputable organization and to give it to. But when it comes to being online, also beware of suspicious email queries. Those often come with a link to a website, and these can sometimes be set up to look very legitimate, and even very like the sites of actual charities, but a peek in the web address bar can often tell you whether you are in a location you can feel safe about or not.
Scammers do not only pose as charities though, and another prevalent strategy they use is to present themselves as employees of an agency that sounds frightening. Posing as an IRS agent has long been used in this arena and recently there is a spate of calls out there of people claiming that your social security number is going to be canceled.
And of course, hearing such things can be frightening, because if they were true, they would not be easy to deal with and could have far-reaching negative consequences. Big problems, though, rarely come out of nowhere. I mean, many of us have had to deal with such difficult-to-handle issues, but we knew why, they were not complete surprises.
If you ever find yourself in a situation then that feels instantly overwhelming because of surprise, the best gift you can give yourself is time. If the communication is legitimate, it is not as if you are going to have five minutes to handle it. You can take the time to wrap your mind around the situation while ensuring it is legitimate. Only when you give quickly to something illegitimate will a result come about where it could be too late to fix.
Connect to Us ~ Facebook ~ Twitter
To ensure we don't make the folks at the IRS ornery, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.