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As the April 18 filing deadline looms, a new wave of tax scams is heating up. Whether you’ve already filed your 2016 return — and especially if not — here’s how to protect yourself from these last-minute schemes currently making the rounds.
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College students and others who have student loans are the latest target of IRS impersonators. In this iteration of the ongoing, widespread scam, fraudsters threaten arrest and other penalties unless a nonexistent “federal student tax” is paid immediately.
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The end of tax season doesn’t mean an end to tax scams; rather, a new wave starts with the deadline for filing tax returns (typically April 15 but this year extended three days so Emancipation Day can be celebrated today).
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It may not seem like it for many Americans, but recent health care spending in the United States has been growing at historically low levels. Between 2000 and 2007, per capita health spending grew at an average annual rate of 7.55 percent. Then we saw a steep decline between 2008 and 2014, when the rate dropped to an average 3.2 percent per year.
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Along with trying to scam the public in the nation’s reigning top ruse — phony phone calls threatening arrest, deportation or seizure of property unless immediate payment is made for alleged back taxes — IRS impostors are also breaking records on another fraudulent front this tax season. Bogus emails and text messages that phish for sensitive information or deliver computer malware have increased fourfold so far this year, reports the Internal Revenue Service. Designed to look like they’re from the IRS or another legitimate entity, these emails seek information that could be used for identity theft or to file false returns for fraudulent refunds.
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A month-long window of opportunity has opened up for scammers, and its timing is crucial for honest taxpayers. Here’s why:
Selling a lemon investment
I’m often asked when the right time is to sell an investment. There are actually two answers — a logical one and an emotional one. Let me explain by illustrating through one of the lessons in a course I teach.
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In just one month, Linda Blase received 74 phone calls — 57 of them from illegal telemarketers or robocallers.
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Lucky me. Turns out I’m entitled to receive $3,200 in “free” government money. The reason, the caller explained: “Because you always file your IRS taxes on time.”
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The federal  tax deadline is just around the corner.
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