BEWARE! Orlando Mass-Shooting Scam!!

Issue Number:    IR-2016-89

Inside This Issue

IRS Warns Consumers of Possible Scams Relating to Orlando Mass-Shooting

WASHINGTON ― The Internal Revenue Service today issued a consumer alert about possible fake charity scams emerging due to last weekend’s mass-shooting in Orlando, Fla., and encouraged taxpayers to seek out recognized charitable groups.

When making donations to assist victims of last weekend’s terrible tragedy, there are simple steps taxpayers can take to ensure their hard-earned money goes to legitimate charities. IRS.gov has the tools taxpayers need to quickly and easily check out the status of charitable organizations.

While there has been an enormous wave of support across the country for the victims and families of Orlando, it is common for scam artists to take advantage of this generosity by impersonating charities to get money or private information from well-meaning taxpayers. Such fraudulent schemes may involve contact by telephone, social media, e-mail or in-person solicitations.

The IRS cautions donors to follow these tips:

  • Be sure to donate to recognized charities.
  • Be wary of charities with names that are similar to familiar or nationally known organizations. Some phony charities use names or websites that sound or look like those of respected, legitimate organizations. The IRS website at IRS.gov has a search feature, Exempt Organizations Select Check, through which people may find qualified charities; donations to these charities may be tax-deductible.
  • Don’t give out personal financial information — such as Social Security numbers or credit card and bank account numbers and passwords — to anyone who solicits a contribution. Scam artists may use this information to steal a donor’s identity and money.
  • Don’t give or send cash. For security and tax record purposes, contribute by check or credit card or another way that provides documentation of the gift.
  • Consult IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, available on IRS.gov.   This free booklet describes the tax rules that apply to making tax-deductible donations. Among other things, it also provides complete details on what records to keep.

Bogus websites may solicit funds for victims of this tragedy. These sites frequently mimic the sites of, or use names similar to, legitimate charities, or claim to be affiliated with legitimate charities in order to persuade people to send money or provide personal financial information that can be used to steal identities or financial resources.

Additionally, scammers often send emails that steer recipients to bogus websites that appear to be affiliated with legitimate charitable causes.

Taxpayers suspecting fraud by email should visit IRS.gov and search for the keywords “Report Phishing.”

More information about tax scams and schemes may be found at IRS.gov using the keywords “scams and schemes.” 

Technology Tools for New Year Confessions

James Kerr is the founder and Chief Geek of SuperGeeks and is a frequent guest blogger for this site.  He always has interesting insights to the technology world and offers valuable advice on how to take advantage of the newest technology.   Please enjoy the following post:

Tools for New Year Confessions

We are rapidly approaching Dec 31st. It’s time to start working on those New Year resolutions.

Resolutions are really confessions wrapped in hope: I need to lose weight. I need to save money. I need to live more.

The first step in getting going is realizing there’s a need for change. But simply wishing for
something is not sufficient. The key to success is devising a plan and sticking with it.

All organizations need change. Change enables us to provide better products and services, and to do work that truly matters.

Fortunately, there are several tools to help us achieve greatness:


Make a plan

Plans come and go. But you need one anyway ­ even when your business plan is in flux.

I love ‘freestyle’ travel, where I may jet to a destination without an itinerary and just let the
adventures unfold. But if I ran my business that way, it would be a disaster.

LivePlan.com is a good tool for planning your strategy, pitching your concept, and tracking your progress.

Use crowdsourced platforms like Qoura.com to get answers to your pressing business questions. One suggestion can be worth millions. And it’s free. (Don’t worry. No one will steal your idea.)

To exercise your idea muscle and improve the quality of your brainstorming, use 750words.com or DraftIn.com for daily journaling. I especially like the ‘Hemingway Mode’ of DraftIn.


Get the funding

We are on the cusp of global economic prosperity. Money is cheap. There are plenty of people
willing to provide capital. All you need is a solid team and a promising idea.

Use Prosper.com to secure a loan. Create an AngelList.com profile to find investors.

As you have probably heard, the SEC is making it easier for private companies to sell equity.
Crowdfunding will continue to explode. Harness this trend to grow your business.


Sell in new ways

Commerce is becoming increasingly decentralized. Consumers want to buy wherever they are and at that moment. So instead of funneling prospects to your website, find ways to push out your products and services to other web properties.

Amazon.com is essentially search engine for people who are ready to buy. Sell there.

Amazon is also starting to resell professional services, like roofing, lawn care and music
instruction: http://services.amazon.com/ It’s worth trying.

Lastly, there may be a completely different way of packaging what you sell. Patreon is an
interesting platform for content creators, like YouTubers, bloggers, and musicians. It enables you collect money from your fans on a regular, ongoing basis rather than just a one­time gig.

Communicate better

Try Boomerang for Gmail. Boomerang let’s you pre­schedule emails, trigger reminder emails
for follow up, and filter target emails for later viewing. It’s a useful tool for staying on top of
sales leads, birthdays, and travel details.

If you’re managing larger teams, check out Slack. Slack offers frictionless communication between members and groups. And if implemented well, Slack will make your company smarter and more competitive. Use it in conjunction with Threadable.com.

If your business is spread across a few time zones, EveryTimeZone.com is an easy way to schedule online meetings and phone conferences.

Have fun with it

Burner is an app that allows you to create and terminate (‘burn) phone numbers on the fly. This is
especially useful for solopreneurs who want to maintain a layer of privacy between them and their customers. In the past, if I had a rental property, I would have to share my cell number with the general public in order to find a tenant. With Burner, I can create a temporary number for the listing and then turn it off when it’s no longer needed.

You can use Burner for promotional campaigns where you may need a phone number for calling, texting and picture exchange. For example, you may want to jump into an online conversation and offer a phone number for follow up. Burner is perfect for that. Like a spy, you just ‘burn’ the number when done.

UsesThis.com is a guy who interviews random people about what hardware and software they
use in their lives. That content is both interesting and useful for your business masterminding.
You can even make your own version of this with the code on GitHub.com. Imagine creating a blog profiling how your customers are leveraging your product or service. Could be a powerful marketing tool.

And then there’s Comic Life for Mac & Windows! This app let’s you take ordinary pics of you and your friends and turn them into a comic. Everyone loves comics, and this tool is a great way to tell a story. It could be used internally to playfully underscore your company’s values or it could be used to share content with your base.

Finally, stay motivated. Keep pushing on. As Zig Ziglar said, “You were designed for
accomplishment, engineered for success and endowed with the seeds of greatness! You were
born to win.” The world is yours.

A Lawyer and CPA Story.

This is based on a true story.  Please enjoy……

 

A sharply dressed fast talking lawyer and a retired CPA senior citizen are sitting next to each other on a long flight to LA.

The lawyer is thinking that seniors are so dumb that he could get one over on them easily.

So, the lawyer asks if the senior would like to play a fun game.

The senior is tired and just wants to take a nap, so he politely declines and tries to catch a few winks

The lawyer persists, saying that the game is a lot of fun..."I ask you a question, and if you don't know the answer, you pay me only $5.00. Then you ask me one, and if I don't know the answer, I will pay you $500.00," he says.

This catches the senior's attention and, to keep the lawyer quiet, he agrees to play the game.

The lawyer asks the first question. "What's the distance from the Earth to the Moon?"

The senior doesn't say a word, but reaches into his pocket, pulls out a five-dollar bill, and hands it to the lawyer.

Now, it's the senior's turn. He asks the lawyer, "What goes up a hill with three legs, and comes down with four?" He then takes a nap.

The lawyer uses his laptop to search all references he can find on the Net.

He sends E-mails to all the smart friends he knows; all to no avail. After an hour of searching, he finally gives up.

He wakes the senior and hands him $500.00. The senior pockets the $500.00 and goes right back to sleep.

The lawyer is going nuts not knowing the answer. He wakes the senior up and asks, "Well, so what goes up a hill with three legs and comes down with four?"

The senior reaches into his pocket, hands the lawyer $5.00, and goes back to sleep.