BBB Scams - April

posted by Brian Thomas -

Whoops, Tried Filing Your Taxes?

The IRS gave last-minute tax filers a one-day extension because of Tuesday’s massive website crash. Millions of people who tried to file on Tuesday found many services unavailable such as the Direct Pay link and the Payment Plan page to pay their tax bill in installments.

The good news is last-minute filers had until Wednesday night to file and pay anything they owe. However, if you STILL need more time. . .  you can pay the IRS estimated taxes on the phone or online by obtaining an automatic extension using Form 4868 that will be sent in with payment by October 15. If you don’t, there will be pain: The IRS will assess a penalty of 5 percent of the balance due for each month your return is late, up to a maximum of 25 percent.

Learn more about your rights as a taxpayer and filing extension information by visiting irs.gov. Keep in mind this type of occurance may spur an incurrence of IRS robocalls which you can report to scamtracker.org.

Tax Scams Can Happen Anytime of the Year

Speaking of those IRS calls . . . everyone should beware of the telltale signs of a scam and tips to protect themselves from a variety of phone scams and phishing emails. 

Watch out for promised refunds or threats of an unexpected tax bill. These messages are masqueraded as being from the IRS, a tax company and sometimes even a state revenue department in the form of an email enticing people to click on links with official-looking messages containing questions related to a "tax refund” in the subject line.

By phone, many scammers use threats to intimidate and bully people into paying a "tax bill" and then may even threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the driver’s license of their victim if they don’t get the money. The typical form of payment is a gift card, prepaid debit card or wire transfer. Be alert for the voicemails alerting you of an arrest warrant or some other official call back request in relation to a tax debt that’s probably not true.

In each of these cases, the IRS will not call to demand immediate payment by phone nor call about taxes owed without first mailing a bill. They won’t threaten to send law enforcement to your doorstep or have you arrested for non-payment or ever ask for payment using some form of prepaid debit card. Report any of these suspicious activities to scamtracker.org.

Different Twist on Tech Scam

Scammers are using a scam to gain access to your computer. They’re calling and pretending to be with the FTC Advanced Tech Support refund program. The goal is to make people think they’re moments away from getting money that’s owed to them and the only way to do this is accessing their computer remotely. 

This type of scam is typically used to install malware, sell you software that’s useless in protecting against viruses or direct you to websites to ask you to enter credit card information or other personal information. In this case, the fraudster is actually using victims recovering from a tech scam and have already filed a claim with the FTC.

The FTC’s Advanced Tech Support refund program has already distributed all of the checks to those affected and the FTC is not accepting any new claims. The fraudsters are also telling people to call if they have questions but giving an incorrect number. The only number to call for information about the real Advanced Tech Support Refund program is 877-793-0908.

The FTC and its refund administrators will never request remote access to your device, or ask you to pay to receive a refund. Any caller who does is a scammer. If you get a similar call, hang up immediately, report it to the FTC, and scamtracker.org to spread the word. It may help someone close to you.

Medicare Cards are on the Way

Newly eligible people with Medicare coverage, watch your mailbox, your new card should be arriving this month. For the rest of you keep a close eye on your mail, it should be coming between now and July - at least according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

When you receive it, shred the old one as the coverage will carry over to the newer card. 

Since these have hit the postal system, patients and their families should also be on the lookout for potential cons. In one scam, con artists call seniors asking for a credit card number to pay a $25 processing fee for the new card. In another, crooks ask the senior for identifying information, including Social Security number. The worst of the three cons urges seniors to provide bank account information so that the crook, posing as a federal employee, can "credit" the senior's account for a bogus balance on the old card.

None of these are true. The card will be sent to address listed with the Social Security Administration and all enrollees will receive a card automatically without charge. If anyone calls saying otherwise, hang up and report it to scamtracker.org

Sign up for emails about the status of card mailings in their area on Medicare.gov/NewCard

Artrepreneur: Where Passion Becomes Possible

Hosted by multiple organizations in a collaborative effort, Artrepreneur is an event that uses that community as a foundation and builds on it and recognizes the contributions of artistic entrepreneurs and small business owners during National Small Business Week, April 29 to May 5.

Since 1963, the President of the United States has set aside a week to recognize the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. That makes this year the 55th anniversary of this national weeklong celebration for America’s 30 million small businesses, and Ohio’s more than 900,000 small businesses. 

Join us for light bites and refreshments, and a networking hour that includes access to organizations with resources for small businesses of all types. After the keynote presentation by BLINK founder Steve McGowan, attendees will be given a Cincinnati Bell Connector pass and a map to participating businesses along the streetcar route where they can learn more about the creative field. 

Artists and creatives across the city hoping to learn from and engage with industry insiders are invited to attend Artrepreneur: Where Passion Becomes Possible will be held Thursday, May 3 at Reztark Design Studio, 601 Main St. office from 3-4:30 p.m. The event is free, but reservations are required as Connector tickets are limited; registration is available through Eventbrite. 

Patriot Cup

BBB Center for Ethics is hosting The Patriot Cup, a competitive and exciting 25-station clay shooting event, to support their various ethics-focused programs. 

The event is Friday, May 4 at Sycamore Sportsman’s Club, 6254 Lower Lewis Road, Miamiville, Ohio from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Individual participants are welcome, and shooters of all experience levels are invited to attend. Awards will be given to the highest scoring male and female participants, and a champion team will be recognized as well.

Patriot Cup benefits the programs of BBB Center for Ethics - the educational arm of BBB Cincinnati - whose mission is to provide ethics education, direction, and recognition to Cincinnati’s workforce. Through ethics-based scholarship opportunities, ethics-centered training courses and ethics-focused award programs, the Center works to equip tomorrow’s employees today.

Go to patriotcup.org for details and registration.

Students of Integrity Scholarship Applications

BBB Center for Ethics awards four annual scholarships to high school seniors who reside in our 20 county service area of Southern Ohio, Northern Kentucky & Southeast Indiana. The Center is accepting applications for the Students of Integrity Scholarships to students who demonstrate exceptional ethical reasoning skills. 

The inaugural Thomas J. Klinedinst, Jr. SOI Scholarship will be awarded to the top SOI winner, empowering that student to further his/her educational career with $2,000 towards post-secondary education costs. Three other winners will receive $1,000.

The application encourages students to work through a real-life dilemma, challenging their ideas of what it means to be ethical. The deadline is June 4, but get ahead of the rest and start your application now! Visit centerforethics.org/soi.

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Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas

Based in Cincinnati, OH, the Brian Thomas Morning Show covers news and politics, both local and national, from a conservative point of view. Read more

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