Certain situations bring up fear within us that is impossible to completely avoid. The past few months have certainly proven that. These feelings make us more vulnerable. It is not really a surprise then that the IRS put out a release earlier this week warning against schemes surrounding COVID-19.
A lot of the current schemes have been taking advantage of the government issuing economic impact payments. And again, this is not really a surprise, because when we were to receive these payments, and how, has been full of confusion for many. Real answers have been out there, but they have not always been the easiest thing to find, so that left fertile ground for scams to grow.
IRS scams are prevalent no matter the time or situation, and this also is partially because answers on how the organization and its tax structure work are not always easy to find. When someone threatens you about how you used this confusing system, fear can jump up quick. It almost always comes with a threat that it could hurt you in the wallet, and that is another place where fear can thrive. Combine that with a worldwide health scare, and we are probably all more vulnerable to such criminal activity than we would like to admit.
This is why current scams are going beyond the IRS ones and also involve fake cures, fake vaccines, fake testing, and fake advice. The antidote to all of these, however, remains the same – time and knowledge.
The first part of that is probably more difficult to keep in mind currently. After all, illness is one of the areas where acting quick is of utmost importance. So, if you think you may be really sick, do not hesitate to contact your doctor. But the reason to not hesitate in contacting them is because of their knowledge.
You see, scams rely on you not knowing the truth. If someone is going to sell you a vaccine that does not exist, they need you to be unaware that a real one does not exist. If you slow down and take the time to do some research, you gain the knowledge you need to not be drawn into paying too much for something that is going to do nothing for you.
This short blog then is an urging to not be reactionary, and instead to seek information, and make your own conclusions. This will not necessarily defeat fear, but it will at least keep us the right amount of fearful and about the right things.
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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.