BEWARE OF THESE CORONAVIRUS EMAIL SCAMS THEY’RE STILL AROUND!
SPELLING AND GRAMMAR MISTAKES This is usually a dead giveaway. While genuine, official updates about the coronavirus will be meticulously checked for spelling and grammar, scammers aren’t as careful. Missing periods, misspelled words, and wacky syntax errors are all hallmarks of scam emails. Make sure you carefully read any email you’re not sure about. If you can spot spelling and grammar mistakes, delete the email. Much like the coronavirus will remain in the American psyche long after cases and deaths have peaked, scammers will continue using it as a means to steal from honest, hardworking Americans. But, if we keep our guard up, we can make sure they get absolutely nothing from their efforts.
While it seems like the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic might be behind us, that doesn’t mean we should let our guard down completely — especially when it comes to internet scams designed to prey on the fear and uncertainty brought on by the pandemic. It’s no surprise that scammers have found ways to use the coronavirus scare as an opportunity to steal personal information from the vulnerable. Fortunately, you can spot coronavirus scammers using the same techniques that help identify otherwise run-of-the- mill phishing scams. REQUESTS FOR PERSONAL INFORMATION When the federal government started distributing relief checks, several scammers sent out unsolicited emails, disguised as legitimate instructions, asking for personal information
from people in order to receive their $1,200. Since many people have now received their checks, this particular scam may become less common, but always be suspicious of emails that ask for personal information, no matter the circumstances. SUSPICIOUS LINKS AND EMAIL ADDRESSES During the past few months, people’s email inboxes have been littered with advertisements for fake coronavirus tests and cures, fake alerts from government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and fake coronavirus updates. If you get an email containing an unusual link in your inbox, do not click on it — even if the email address looks legitimate. Scammers use links to spread malware on computers, which helps them get your personal information.
ARE YOUR WAGES STILL BEING GARNISHED?
The Ins and Outs of Current IRS Suspensions
CHILD SUPPORT According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, child support garnishments are active and were not suspended because of the pandemic. State agencies are also still processing payments. If you're paying child support through wage garnishments, your employer should be using the IRS Electronic Income Withholding Order process to do so. If they haven’t been doing this, you could be in for trouble down the line. STUDENT LOANS As of March 13, and until at least July 15, the government is not accepting wage garnishments from people with student loan debt. This encompasses all student loans, both private and federal. However, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act extended that suspension through Sept. 30 for payments taken under the Higher Education Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. To ensure your employer
isn't still mistakenly garnishing your wages, check with their HR department. TAX LEVIES Due to the IRS People First Initiative, new levies issued by field revenue officers and automatic levy actions are suspended through July 15. State- issued levy payments are also suspended until July 15. However, the rules are different for current levies of wages and assets — those are being assessed on a case-by-case basis. Chances are good that the IRS is going to double down on collections as soon as the July 15 deadline is here to make up for lost time. That’s where a tax resolution specialist like me can help. If you’re struggling to make sense of this complex situation or stay on top of your payments, call Francetic Tax Resolution. The sooner you reach out or point your confused friend or family member in my direction, the better. Together, we can make sure you’re taken care of during this unique time.
At the time I’m writing this, the federal government has suspended specific tax actions, including some wage garnishments, until July 15 due to the pandemic. However, there's a lot of false information about these suspensions circulating online, which has caused a lot of confusion among my clients, their friends, and their families. What makes the situation even more concerning is that depending on the type of garnishment, regulations differ drastically.
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