Tax Time…and Tax Scams
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams, reminding taxpayers to use caution to protect themselves against a wide range of schemes ranging from identity theft to return preparer fraud.
Find out how to avoid common tax scams.
A recent research poll showed that more than half of all American adults entered sweepstakes within the past year – most of which were legitimate and law-abiding. However, con artists try to capitalize on the popularity of these offers by disguising their illegal schemes.
The Federal Trade Commission receives thousands of complaints each year from consumers about gifts, sweepstakes, and prize promotions. You can protect yourself by recognizing the differences between legitimate sweepstakes and fraudulent ones:
• Prizes in legitimate contests are awarded solely by chance. Contestants don’t have to pay a fee or buy something to enter or increase their odds of winning.
• In fraudulent schemes, “winners” almost always have to pay to enter a contest or collect their “prize,” if they get a prize at all. Requiring a fee to enter is illegal.
Fraudulent sweepstakes promotions often show up through telemarketer calls, e-mails, or in the mail. You can reduce your chance of receiving these notifications by registering for the National Do Not Call Registry and by having your name removed from direct mail and e-mail marketing lists.
Learn your rights under the law when it comes to sweepstakes and find more ways to protect yourself. Keep yourself informed.
For additional information on the most recent scam alerts, please see the Federal Trade Commission’s web site: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts
Recent Books Worth Reading:
Leading Firms: How Great Professional Service Firms Succeed & How Your Firm Can Too, by David Kuhlman. Most businesses claim that people are their most important asset, but Kuhlman explains that professional service firms are unique because their entire value chain consists of people who must differentiate themselves from competitors who often offer the same product in similar ways with near-identical messaging. He offers a guide to the dynamics of the professional services firm. Kuhlman covers the aspects of the daily dealing with clients and markets as well as the planning and implementation of long-term strategy that leading a firm requires. Leading Firms is perfect for anyone who wants to explore their firm’s potential and can serve as a how-to guide for anyone leading in, or participating in, moving a service firm forward.
The Knockoff Economy: How Imitation Sparks Innovation, by Kal Raustiala and Christopher Springman. In The Knockoff Economy, the authors argue that creativity can not only survive in the face of copying, but can thrive. They approach the question of incentives and innovation in a wholly new way–by exploring creative fields where copying is generally legal, such as fashion, food, and even professional football. By uncovering these important but rarely studied industries, Raustiala and Sprigman reveal a nuanced relationship between imitation and innovation. In some creative fields, copying is kept in check through informal industry norms enforced by private sanctions. In others, the freedom to copy actually promotes creativity. Example: High fashion gave rise to the very term “knockoff,” yet the freedom to imitate great designs only makes the fashion cycle run faster–and forces the fashion industry to be even more creative.
For Crew and Country: The Inspirational True Story of Bravery and Sacrifice Aboard the USS Samuel B. Roberts, by John Wukovits. On October 25, 1944, the Samuel B. Roberts, along with the other twelve vessels comprising its unit, stood between Japan’s largest battleship force ever sent to sea and MacArthur’s transports inside Leyte Gulf. Faced with the surprise appearance of more than twenty Japanese battleships, cruisers, and destroyers, including the Yamato, which, at 70,000 tons, was then the most potent battlewagon in the world. The 1,200-ton Samuel B. Roberts turned immediately into action with six other ships. It churned straight at the enemy in a near-suicidal attempt to deflect the more potent foe, allow the small aircraft carriers to escape, and buy time for MacArthur’s forces. The Samuel B. Roberts was sunk, going down with guns blazing in a duel reminiscent of the Spartans at Thermopylae or Davy Crockett’s Alamo defenders. The book chronicles the most dramatic naval battle of the Pacific War and the sacrifice of the ship’s crew.
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