We’re in the heart of income tax season, and the scam artists are all over it. It happens every year. Scammers contact taxpayers by telephone, posing as the IRS, telling the tale that the taxpayer owes a back income tax debt of several thousand dollars. They will threaten things like arrest, deportation, or driver’s license revocation if the tax bill is not paid immediately. And they will insist that this bill be paid by credit card.
You can see where this is going. The victim gives the credit card number to the phony IRS agent on the phone and then the fraudulent charges happen. This leaves the victim with a huge mess to clean up.
So here’s what you need to know. If you are surprised that the IRS is contacting you, then it’s more than likely NOT the IRS contacting you. The IRS will never call you to collect a tax debt without having first sent a paper bill by US Mail. The IRS will never ask for a credit card number over the phone. If you think you may owe a tax debt, you should contact the IRS directly at their phone number, 1-800-829-1040. If you happen to hear from one of these scammers…hang up. Do not return their calls. And if you feel ambitious….report them to the authorities. You can learn more here.
I’m trying to wrap my head around how I feel about crowdsourcing the funding of personal financial goals. Every once in a while I find myself giving money to a friend who is trying to fund a personal goal that they otherwise couldn’t afford. Record a CD. Buy hockey lessons for their child. Finance classes that will help with their career. Save their home from the tightening grasp of foreclosure. I’ve gladly sent money to friends for all of these reasons and several more. And I’m happy to be in a position that I can help with these things. But if it came right down to it, would I do this myself?
I don’t think I would. I’ve worked hard (and pinched some pennies) to put myself in a comfortable position financially. I don’t have everything I want. But I’m very content with what I have. Would I be happy to have more? Absolutely. Am I willing to ask my friends to help fund that something more? Not right now. Maybe if I were in a different position, I would feel differently about it. I’m not losing my house. I don’t have kids begging for hockey lessons. And I’m a long way from ready to record a CD. I’m hopeful that the day never comes when I have no better place to turn than a crowdfunding website. Yet at the same time it’s kind of comforting to know the option is out there.
So…I’m still trying to wrap my head around how I feel about crowdsourcing the funding of personal financial goals. And I’m grateful that I don’t have to think about it too hard right now.