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Blockchain and digital assets news and trends

To remain competitive, companies find themselves increasing their efforts to digitally transform their businesses by developing new offerings based on emerging technologies and integrating these technologies into existing product and service offerings.

This is our sixth monthly bulletin for 2021, aiming to help companies identify important and significant legal developments governing the use and acceptance of blockchain technology, smart contracts and digital assets.

While the use cases for blockchain technology are vast, from copyright protection to voting, most of the current adoption is in the financial services section and the focus of this bulletin will be primarily on the use of blockchain and or smart contracts in that sector. With respect to digital assets, we have organized our approach to this topic by discussing it in terms of traditional asset type or function (although the types and functions may overlap), that is, digital assets as:

  • Securities
  • Virtual currencies
  • Commodities
  • Deposits, accounts, intangibles
  • Negotiable instruments
  • Electronic chattel paper
  • Digitized assets

Digital assets can themselves be assets or instead can reflect the ownership of an underlying asset. For example, electronic records that are the equivalents of negotiable instruments and electronic chattel paper would be digital assets, as would an electronic recording of a security interest in the underlying asset, such as recording title to real or personal property and the use of tokens…

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FTC Lawsuit Against Walmart is Unfounded and Ignores the Billions Walmart has Saved Customers

A narrowly divided Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has filed a misguided lawsuit against Walmart regarding money transfer services that the Company offers to consumers. Here’s what you need to know about the lawsuit:

Since Walmart began offering our customers flat, low fee money transfer services at our stores, the company has saved consumers—particularly the unbanked and underbanked— an estimated $6 billion in fees by bringing important competition to the money transfer industry.

Walmart has a robust anti-fraud program to help stop third-party criminals who try to use money transfer services to commit fraud, and only a miniscule number of transactions are even alleged to be fraudulent. In fact, Walmart has stopped hundreds of thousands of suspicious transactions totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.

Despite Walmart’s anti-fraud programs, the FTC is trying to blame the Company for actions by third parties, including fraud the FTC has already acknowledged was caused by another company—while that company was under federal government oversight through a compliance monitor, and during a period when that company’s own fraud prevention system had failed.

This civil lawsuit is factually misguided and legally flawed. In fact, it was approved by the FTC by the narrowest of margins after Chair Lina Khan refused Walmart the due process of hearing directly from the company, and then the Department of Justice refused to take this…

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FTC accuses Walmart of allowing fraudsters to hijack its money transfer business

The Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit against Walmart on Tuesday, accusing the retail giant of looking the other way while scammers hijacked its money transfer business, costing consumers hundreds of millions in losses.

Federal regulators allege in the suit filed in federal court in Illinois that Walmart failed to monitor its money transfers services at its stores, allowing fraudsters to use them to quickly and easily wire money around and convert it to cash, serving as a powerful tool in ripping off scam victims.

“While scammers used its money transfer services to make off with cash, Walmart looked the other way and pocketed millions in fees,” Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection said in a statement. “Consumers have lost hundreds of millions, and the commission is holding Walmart accountable for letting fraudsters fleece its customers.” 

The FTC asked the court in its suit to order Walmart to return money that had been taken from consumers and impose civil penalties.

In a statement, Walmart
WMT,
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called the action a “factually flawed and legally baseless civil lawsuit,” and said it would fight it aggressively in court.

Walmart offers a number of financial services to customers in its stores, including money transfers, credit cards, reloadable debit cards, check cashing and bill payment. It also serves as an agent for other money transfer services,…

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Eight Years In Federal Prison For Seven Bridges Resident

BY: STAFF REPORT | BocaNewsNow.com

DELRAY BEACH, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2022 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — Seven Bridges resident Jeffrey Jedlicki, who has spent the last several months in a federal holding facility, will now spend eight years in federal prison. His wife, Tracy Jedlicki, will be sentenced in July. Prosecutors say both were involved in an international boiler room scam.

The United States Department of Justice issued this statement just before 6 p.m. on Tuesday:

U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Barber today sentenced Jeffrey Jedlicki, 51, to eight years in federal prison for wire fraud conspiracy. As part of his sentence, the court also ordered Jedlicki to forfeit $700,000 and a South Florida residence worth in excess of $2 million. The court also ordered Jedlicki to pay $3,244,592.00 in restitution to the victims. Jedlicki had pleaded guilty on September 16, 2021.

According to court documents, Jedlicki and his coconspirators operated international boiler rooms in Panama and elsewhere that used high-pressure sales techniques to defraud individuals who invested substantial amounts of money in what they believed were regulated financial products or markets, such as options in commodities and stocks. The majority of the victims that the boiler rooms targeted were located in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

Jedlicki and his co-conspirators then transferred fraud proceeds generated by the boiler rooms through…

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Fishers Police Department cautions residents about telephone scams

INDIANAPOLIS — The Fishers Police Department is warning residents about a string of recent telephone scams targeting citizens.

According to police, the most common scam involves someone calling the victim and accusing them of having an outstanding warrant. The scammer tells the victim that in order to clear their name, they must do exactly what they say, which typically involves the victim sending gift cards for a specific amount.

During the scam, the victim is instructed to stay on the line, not reveal details of the call to anyone, and go to the store to purchase the gift cards or green dot cards.

According to the FPD, several residents have already been taken advantage of in the scam and lost thousands of dollars.

Their advice for residents is to follow these tips:

  • Immediately hang up the phone if you do not recognize or know the caller
  • Never give out personal information. If you feel the call might be legitimate, you can ask the person to mail you the information
  • Never provide gift card numbers to anyone over the telephone
  • No legitimate company or organization requires payment via gift cards or green dot card
  • No law enforcement agency threatens to arrest people over the phone
  • If something does not sound or feel right, hang up the phone
  • You are welcome to contact your local law enforcement agency; however, most of these telephone scams originate from overseas and are difficult to trace, if not impossible.

In addition to these tips, the Federal Trade Commission offers consumer…

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FTC Sues Walmart for Facilitating Money Transfer Fraud That Fleeced Customers Out of Hundreds of Millions

The Federal Trade Commission today sued Walmart for allowing its money transfer services to be used by fraudsters, who fleeced consumers out of hundreds of millions of dollars. In its lawsuit, the FTC alleges that for years, the company turned a blind eye while scammers took advantage of its failure to properly secure the money transfer services offered at Walmart stores. The company did not properly train its employees, failed to warn customers, and used procedures that allowed fraudsters to cash out at its stores, according to the FTC’s complaint. The FTC is asking the court to order Walmart to return money to consumers and to impose civil penalties for Walmart’s violations.

“While scammers used its money transfer services to make off with cash, Walmart looked the other way and pocketed millions in fees,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Consumers have lost hundreds of millions, and the Commission is holding Walmart accountable for letting fraudsters fleece its customers.”  

In addition to its retail business, Walmart offers financial services to consumers in its stores, including money transfers, credit cards, reloadable debit cards, check cashing, bill payments and more. Walmart acts as an agent for multiple money transfer services, including MoneyGram, Ria and Western Union, offering some services under its own brand, like “Walmart2Walmart” and “Walmart2World.” According to the complaint, tens of…

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Viral TikTok Shares Tactics Buyers Are Using Against Black Homeowners

TikTok Happenings

Source: KiddNation / Kidd Nation

Homeowners have grown to understand the concept of gentrification in their neighborhoods, but the predatory buyer behavior and pressure tactics buyers are using is sending some social media users into extreme irritation. One viral TikTok video sheds light on the grievances minority homeowners are facing as gentrification continues.

In a viral TikTok video, TikTok user @kreatewithkeisha garnered over 300k views after sharing her experience as a recent Seattle, Washington home owner. Keisha inherited her grandfather’s home, which he bought in 1953. Keisha assures her TikTok followers that she plans to stay here despite the continuous scare tactics…

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Taxes for Endowments: What is the tax treatment of college and university endowments?

Most students who leave college or the university have a massive debt to pay the government, they all want to know how taxes for both types of institutions are treated. In reality, there are some colleges and universities that earn most of their money due to these massive debts that are payed over decades. In many cases, these debts take a long time to settle and they increase due to interest.

Such institutions tend to be public and private nonprofit charitable enterprises, which means donations to their endowments are never taxed and assets increase free of taxes over the years. However, a tax legislation to this practice was created back in 2017 and thus an exception was born. The government started imposing a tax on the endowment earnings of a relatively small number of private nonprofit colleges and universities.

What is this tax legislation called?

Known as the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, this imposes a new tax on a reduced group of private nonprofit colleges and universities. These are schools that enroll at least 500 students that have endowment assets that go further than $500,000 per student. These schools are forced to pay a tax of 1.4 percent on their net investment income.

This threshold of $500,000 is never indexed for inflation. According to the Treasury Department, there are only about 40 schools in the country that fit the criteria to pay this tax legislation. The IRS offers guidance for all schools in order to understand if they fit the criteria….

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IRS Warns Consumers of Stimulus Check Scams


The IRS and its criminal investigation division have seen a wave of new schemes that criminals are devising to cheat Americans by using the stimulus checks as a way to gain access to their personal identifying information. “History has shown that criminals take every opportunity to perpetrate a fraud on unsuspecting victims, especially when a group of people is vulnerable or in a state of need,” said Don Fort, chief of the criminal investigation division. “While you are waiting to hear about your economic-impact payment, criminals are working hard to trick you into getting their hands on it. The IRS criminal investigation division is working hard to find these scammers and shut them down, but in the meantime, we ask people to remain vigilant.”

If you already have a 2018 or 2019 federal tax return on file and are eligible for a stimulus payment under the CARES Act, the IRS will deposit your payment directly into the bank account you listed on your return. Social Security recipients and railroad retirees will automatically receive a $1,200 stimulus payment the same way they receive monthly benefits, even if they didn’t file a return for 2018 or 2019. The IRS says it will get the information for those recipients from annual 1099 benefit statements. If you need to provide bank account information, there will be a secure portal set up…

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What They Are and How to Choose

Recently, there’s been a significant uptick in the number of crypto exchanges ready to serve and cater to the needs of teeming crypto enthusiasts globally. However, choosing the perfect crypto exchange is always a daunting and overwhelming experience because of the abundant number of available crypto exchanges operating today.

Most importantly, an ideal exchange should have the right mix of flexibility, stability, and security. Although security is one big issue when it comes to selecting a reliable crypto exchange, especially with the incessant cases of hacking and exit scams prevalent in the still-developing industry, there are other equally concerning points to consider. In this guide, we will introduce you to the most crucial tips you need on how to choose a cryptocurrency exchange service provider that is perfect for your needs.

What Is A Crypto Exchange?

A cryptocurrency exchange is an online platform where you can trade, swap, and exchange various crypto coins for one another or convert crypto directly into fiat. In simpler terms, crypto exchanges work similarly to traditional brokers, who give you the tools to make asset exchange easy and accessible for a small transaction fee.

What Should You Look Out For In A Crypto Exchange Before Trading With Them?

1). Security

You should ensure the crypto exchange you choose to trade with has advanced security technology like account encryption and 2-factor authentication. All this is to ensure your funds are safe in the…

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