Scams will never completely go away, but just whose responsibility is it to fight them? Obviously, taking a bit of personal responsibility is the first line of defense, but scammers can’t be allowed to just run rampant otherwise with a ‘it’s your problem’ attitude. And it’s not as if anyone is immune to this either, as news came out over the last week that multi-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt lost more than $12 million in a case of investment fraud.
Now the IRS has been called out by the Government Accountability Office, which says the tax agency could do more to help stop these situations. Every year, the IRS puts out its list of the Dirty Dozen tax scams, which gets a decent deal of attention (a good thing), but does not include instructions on how the public can report any of these abuses to the agency.
But it’s not as if the IRS does nothing, and it might be too much to expect an entity that is having issues living up to some of its most basic responsibilities to take on more. But the idea that more should be done also feels reasonable and right. If people are taking advantage of abusive tax schemes, should not the tax agency have some, well, agency in this situation?
Then again, however, the IRS is currently aware of more than 40 types of such schemes, so at some point it feels like they can only do so much. And as is always the case with such defrauding actions, they will only continue to grow and evolve to try to stay ahead of the knowledge and awareness of others – no matter who it is combatting such schemes.
So now it feels like we come back to the idea of personal responsibility. Maybe there’s something empowering in there about having a great deal of individual autonomy, but that falls flat when you get caught up in something that could lose you a good deal of money.
Even if there is no surefire way to avoid these potential situations then, we can all retain a healthy skepticism. There’s the adage that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And in this realm, anything that sounds that good will remain that good if you take the time to ensure it is real before jumping in. We can also extend it, though, into saying if something sounds too bad to be true, it probably is. So also don’t react quickly if anyone says you must act quick because of how much you owe.
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