Its tax time. Time to file your income taxes with the Internal Revenue Service and hopefully, get a refund back from the taxes you paid throughout the year. For some families, the tax refund is the biggest windfall payment that they will receive all year. Sadly, criminals know this and will go to great lengths to steal these tax refunds before their recipients can claim them. According to the Government Accountability Office, the IRS mistakenly paid out more than $5 billion worth of refunds to identity thieves in 2013. Luckily, there are actions you can take to reduce your risk of becoming a victim. Here are some good tips that will help you keep your tax refund away from criminals.
One of the reasons that criminals can make off with a person’s tax refund so easily is that they file quickly, often before the person can file themselves and before the IRS has all of the documentation they need to identify fraudulent tax returns. By filing for your tax return quickly, you can beat these criminals to the punch and get your social security number into the IRS files as already filed. Any tax filing using your social security number after that will immediately be flagged as suspicious.
Take Advantage Of Electronic Options
When it comes to protecting your tax information from identity thieves, taking advantage of electronic options can be very beneficial. Elect to have all tax documents, including your W-2 and 1099s, delivered to you electronically. Instead of mailing your tax returns, file them electronically with the IRS so they will be processed faster. You can have the IRS direct deposit your refund into your bank account, eliminating the chance that your tax refund check will be stolen out of your mailbox.
Never Provide Tax Information Over The Phone
It is very unlikely that the IRS will ever contact you by email or by phone to ask you to verify tax information, so if you receive communications using these methods it is probably a scam. If you do receive an email that appears to be from the IRS or the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, don’t click any links within the email and forward the message to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you get a call, hang up then call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040. If they really need information from you to process your tax refund, the operator will direct you to the right person.
With savings accounts offering very low interest rates, more and more people are turning to financial investments to help their money grow. While investing can be one of the best ways to make your money work for you, it can also be one of the riskiest ways to use your money. In order to limit the amount of risk you are taking, it is important to do your research and choose your investments wisely. Here are some basic rules for financial investments that everyone should follow.
Simplify Your Plan For Financial Investment
Many new investors make the mistake of making things overly complicated in the beginning, opening themselves up to risks that they do not understand and are not prepared for. Attempting a financial investment plan that is too complex for your current financial knowledge is a good way to lose money fast. Start slow with simple choices and modify your choices as you learn more about the art of investing.
Look For Low Fees And Expenses
The more you pay out in fees and expenses for your financial investments, the lower your rate of return on investments. Studies have shown that paying higher fees rarely results in better returns, regardless of the company. Look for the companies that are offering the lowest fees for investing when you are starting out. Some companies, such as Loyal3, offer fee-free investing for customers who are willing to abide by the company’s investing limits.
Research Easy Ways To Invest
There are many different ways available to invest in the stocks you are interested in and some of these ways are easier than others. For example, making a financial investment in index funds is considered one of the easiest ways to invest because they allow the investor to invest money in a group of stocks that represent a larger group of stocks or bonds and mirror the performance of a broader market index. They can keep track of a single index fund instead of many different companies and reduce their risk by diversifying their investments.
The way that you choose to invest will depend a lot on your personal preferences and the amount of money you are choosing to invest. Regardless of what method you choose, do your research and read current news about the companies or industries you are considering making a financial investment in. While this will not remove the risk in your decisions, it will help you make informed choices on where to invest your money.
One of your worst nightmares might be suddenly getting entangled in a web of financial problems and worries. When we talk of financial crisis then it is important for you to know that most individuals face or have faced an emergency at some point of their lives and therefore you are not the only one out there. This is the reason you must never lose hope and face every financial emergency in the best possible way.
With our standards of living becoming more sophisticated and prices of daily commodities becoming sky high, almost all of us are faced with a financial problem every now and then. However, facing financial problems is a common thing but when it is a financial crunch and you land yourself in the middle of nowhere, you start looking for help from here and there. And this is where most of the individuals commit the mistake. They start borrowing money from unreliable sources and as a result end up paying more than they had actually borrowed.
Always remember that when it is about borrowing money, you need to be more careful than ever. There might be many attractive offers here and there but you must never fall prey to false gimmicks. Only a planned and calculated approach will take you to your destination. It is quite obvious that at a time when you are already facing a financial problem, you would not want any other unnecessary problem to crop up from somewhere. So when it comes to borrowing money, remember to always keep yourself protected from false claims and sources of finance.
The first place we turn to when faced with a financial emergency is that of a relative’s. We always tend to trust someone whom we know when it comes to borrowing and lending money. But if your luck is not in your favor then you might find all doors actually closed for you. And it is this time when you will start spending sleepless days and nights failing to come to a solution. However, there are a lot of options available these days and if you are regular to the internet you will find that there are a large number of companies waiting to rescue you from the mishap out there.
These companies are the payday loans direct lenders and they operate as an answer to all your short term financial queries. Experts believe that taking help from these lenders are one of the best ways to bid adieu to your financial issues. However, they always warn you that you must never resort to these companies for your long term financial worries. These companies exist only to relieve you during your immediate financial worries and they also need to be paid back in time. Otherwise you might end up paying more than the fixed amount.
Therefore, no matter how difficult the situation is, now you have a friend who can help you whenever you are faced with a financial crunch and require immediate cash from a reliable source.
Even the best prepared of us can make financial mistakes that harm our finances both immediately and in the future. Many of the mistakes are made unthinkingly, with the person never realizing that they are harming their finances as much as they actually are. Fortunately, many of these mistakes are easily avoided if you are on the lookout for them. Here are some of the most harmful financial mistakes to avoid.
Delaying saving is one of the most harmful financial mistakes you can make. It is important to save money for the future if you ever want to have financial security. Savings will help you pay for unexpected expenses without having to resort to using expensive credit and accumulating debt. Surprisingly, nearly one-third of all Americans have nothing at all saved for the future. You should be saving at least 10 percent of your income for emergency funds, future needs, and retirement savings. If your current budget does not support this, you should cut your expenses and slowly raise the percentage of your income you are saving until you reach your targeted amount.
Splurging On Expensive Purchases
Today’s advertisements try to convince us that we need the latest and greatest expensive products and many people fall for the line, buying expensive electronics and clothing that are not really necessary to enhance their quality of life. All of us know that at least one person that has to have the newest smartphone, the latest fashion accessories, the latest video game system, or new video games as soon as they come out. Retailers love these people because they are paying a premium for things that have not yet demonstrated their value, but purchasing these items on a regular basis waste money that could be better used buying something that provides a better return on investment or being saved for future needs. To avoid this trap, put a strict spending limit in your budget for purchases and only replace items when they are worn out or broken.
Another one of the most common financial mistakes that many people make is avoiding insurance products. There are several reasons why someone may avoid paying for insurance. Some believe that it is too expensive for their budget and the money would be better spent in other ways. Others hold the mindset that they will never collect on the policy so there is no reason to purchase insurance. Unfortunately, when they discover that they actually need insurance to avoid devastating financial losses, it is usually too late. Your home, your possessions, your health, and your life should all be insured to ensure that you don’t face financial devastation when the unthinkable happens.