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Gainesville Florida Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Monday, November 14, 2016

Avoid These Common Schemes and Scams

It is unfortunate that the people in our society most often duped by schemers are our seniors. So it’s always good to understand what the most common of these schemes are in order to avoid them.

As we get toward the end of the year and the beginning of 2017, we are approaching tax season. Tax scams are some of the most common ones we see. The IRS has issued several consumer alerts in the last few years, as this becomes more and more common. Here’s what you need to know. The IRS will never initiate contact by phone, email or text. The IRS uses U.S. mail. Never give out your credit or debit card numbers to someone saying they are using it to satisfy a tax debt. If you think someone is misrepresenting themselves as the IRS, you can forward emails to phishing@irs.gov or call 1-800-829-1040.

If you sign up for a free credit report, you may be billed a small amount for the report – possibly $1. But be careful of any agreement that signs you up for a monitoring service with a monthly fee. You should be able to get your credit report from any of the three major credit bureaus annually, and you should not have to give anyone a credit card number to do it.

Debt consolidation is another tricky area. While it seems like a good idea, depending on how you do it, the result can put you in a far worse position. It’s best to avoid these debt consolidation companies. If you want to seriously look at debt consolidation, talk to a banker you trust.

Avoid wealth-building seminars. Generally you are getting yourself into a lengthy sales pitch and asked to spend money before you see any return – if you ever do.

If you are going to use a financial advisor, make sure you are going to a financial professional with the credentials to prove it. You want a certified financial planner to help you with your money.

Finally it is import to use common sense. If someone approaches you with something that seems too good to be true, do not give them any access to your money. Instead, go to someone you trust and tell them what’s going on. 


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