Weekly wrap

An old dirty trick is still with us. However, other financial matters change quickly. Check out this week's financial report.

Tax and social security fraudsters add to their bag of tricks

The phone rings. Caller ID indicates a DC number in Washington. You respond and an official-sounding record states that you are having problems with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Or your social security number has been used for criminal activity. You have to react quickly.

You are on your way to losing money to a scammer if you follow the instructions.

"Consumers said they lost more than $ 3.3 billion to fraud in 2020, up from $ 1.8 billion in 2019," explains a Federal Trade Commission report. "Nearly $ 1.2 billion in losses reported last year were due to fraudulent activities, while online purchases accounted for approximately $ 246 million in reported consumer losses."

Expansion of the possibilities of fraud

The IRS and Social Security scams have been around for years. But now the same techniques are being used to exploit COVID-19 related fraud.

Crimes include stealing unemployment benefits, stimulus checks, fake COVID treatments, and fake charities.

Formula for fraud

The proven template for all of these scams is the IRS phone fraud. Although it can and has been done with texts and emails.

IRS phone fraud will leave you with a call like the one described above. Anxiety is a big part of the program's success.

The call appears to be official as it came from a DC number in Washington. However, scammers fake calls. This is where false information is used to make the call come from a legitimate source. Some telephone providers even offer Spoofing services it works like prepaid business cards.

The call is not from the government

"Government agencies like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or the Social Security Administration (SSA) don't call you out of the blue, text you or email you to request payment immediately," writes FTC attorney Emily Wu in one Agency blog post.

The IRS confirms Wu's claim

"The IRS does not initiate Contact with taxpayers via email, SMS or social media channels to request personal or financial information, ”the service says.

To help consumers, the IRS has one List of current scams.

To report a fraud Call, email, or text, contact the FTC.

This is how the FTC suggests dealing with a government Call scammers.

Find out why your next car (new or used) will cost more

You may have heard that semiconductor chips are in short supply. The chip drought will short-circuit any ideas you came up with to get a bargain on your next car.

According to consulting firms, semiconductors account for around forty percent of the cost of a new car Deloitte. Modern automobiles cannot function properly without them. Automakers around the world have slowed production due to the shortage. That means fewer new cars are coming onto the market.

Find out more about the semiconductor shortage and the effects on your wallet at Saving Advice. Our special cover will be available in the Sunday edition.

IPOs continue to boom, SPACs burst when an opportunity opens up for small investors

The surge in IPOs that began last year has expanded through 2021 and is on the rise. In the meantime, retail investors can join the rush.

According to company data, $ 174 billion was raised for 494 offers in 2020 FactSet, a financial data and software company.

"Overall, initial public offerings raised $ 174 billion in 2020, up 150% from 2019," said FactSet.

The number of companies raising over $ 1 billion hit a record 28. DoorDash and Airbnb each top $ 3 billion.

The IPO got off to a good start in 2021

This year is developing into a tsunami in the IPO. According to Dealogic, 302 IPOs had raised 102.3 billion euros by mid-March.

SPACs go Splat

The only bad news is the recent downturn in Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPAC).

SPACs are often referred to as blank check companies. They are shell companies. These companies raise money through a stock offering to invest in other companies.

SPACs joined the IPO last year. They now have an estimated purchasing power of $ 1 trillion Business Insider. However, the average SPAC returns are minus 34 percent between January 2019 and June 2020. Many are trading below their IPO price. As a result, the market appears to be cooling off.

Democratization

IPOs have long been reserved for wealthy and institutional investors. SoFi is trying to change that. The investment company offers IPOs to clients with an account of $ 3,000 or more. Robinhood is planning something similar.

Vaccination certificate is coming

In a moment, you may be asked to show your passport when attending public events. No, not this pass. The one who shows you have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Biden administration is considering “vaccination certificates”. These credentials are displayed or printed on free smartphone apps.

The White House, various technology companies, local governments, and universities in the United States are trying to develop a qualification plan.

Global effort

Internationally, the World Health Organization (WHO) is researching ideas for vaccination certificates.

Several airlines are testing a digital passport developed by the International Air Transportation Association.

The European Commission is considering a "digital green certificate". The voucher is valid for trips within the European Union. This would be a vaccination record, a negative COVID test, or a previous infection.

Everyone has a plan

Countries and organizations are researching or have announced plans to introduce vaccination records.

Israel is developing a "green passport" for travel. A “Coronapas” is required in Demark to enter hairdressing salons, cinemas and restaurants. according to the BBC. Sweden, Estonia and Greece are now also considering issuing vaccination certificates.

standardization

The potential for chaos is great.

The Federal Health IT Coordination Council noted the need for a coordinated plan to avoid confusion.

The council stressed that "a messy and ineffective approach to vaccine identification could hamper our pandemic response," the Washington Post reported.

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If you would like to read our blog posts and try your hand at blogging, we have good news for you. This is exactly what you can do with Saving Advice. Just click here to get started. Check out these helpful tools to save more.

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