The Latest Tax Scams and How to Avoid Them

Even the savviest consumer may fall victim to sophisticated tax scams. Luckily, you can stay alert to the latest cons in order to avoid financial losses. CashMax has assembled a list of some of the most recent schemes to protect you and your wallet from con artists.

Email Scams

Many scam artists utilize email to seek out personal information through a practice known as "phishing." Though these emails may appear legitimate, be cautious! Some emails contain links to viruses and malware that can harm your security. Here are some tax scams to look out for:

  • Taxpayer Advocacy Groups: Scam artists may pose as real organizations, like the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, in unsolicited emails. However, the actual panel will not ask for your personal information.
  • W-2 Scams: Human Resource departments should be cautious of false emails from executives who request Social Security numbers from employees. Be sure to double check with personnel and alert the IRS if you encounter such a scam.
  • False Updates: If you receive an email to update your IRS e-file, then do not click on the links. The IRS will not contact you for personal or financial information through emails.

Telephone Scams

Scammers may also contact you through the phone to request personal information. While many scam artists used aggressive methods in the past, modern tactics may be more subtle. Here are some of the latest scams that have been reported:

  • Tax Refunds: Scam artists may promise a tax refund, but ask to verify personal information through the phone. Avoid giving out credit cards and Social Security numbers to unknown callers.
  • IRS Impersonators: Be wary if anyone calls requesting immediate payment, such as prepaid cards and wire transfers. Callers may provide names and badge numbers, but true IRS agents will never make threats or demands. True IRS agents will also mail a bill to the taxpayer and provide opportunity for appeals.
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1622 Hits

Learn the Simple Steps for Creating a Wedding Budget

If you want to plan a dream wedding without breaking the bank, then creating a wedding budget can provide peace of mind for the big day. While budgeting may not seem like the most exciting step in the planning process, a sensible budget can actually save the happy couple time and stress while making arrangements. You'll have the power to prioritize exactly what you want, while saving a few dollars on less essential services. So, where should you begin?

Creating a Wedding Budget

Setting your budget can be a great way to kick off the wedding planning process. Here are a few tips that couples can use when estimating costs:

  • Research: Do your homework to find out what services cost in your desired wedding location. What can you expect to pay for a photographer or florist? What about rental costs for different venues? Speak with a variety of experts to get a better idea of what to expect, and don't forget to request printed price lists.
  • Funding: Find out who will be paying for the event. Will you foot the bill alone, or have family members offered to provide financial help? This will help you estimate your potential budget.
  • Prioritize: Dig deep to determine what matters the most on your big day, whether it's a dazzling gown or terrific catering. These pieces will receive the bulk of your budget. Also, determine which elements may be less important for your wedding experience. While it's valuable to create a realistic budget, flexibility is also a major asset. Don't be afraid to tweak your figures as you go.

Additional Tips

Proper timing can save you unexpected dollars while planning the wedding. Between January and April, wedding services are more likely to offer lower priced deals. If you dream of a fall wedding, then consider November as an alternative to costlier September and October ceremonies.

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1340 Hits

Start Your College Savings Plan Today

If you’re worried about saving for college, then join the club. The skyrocketing costs of a college education are in the news almost every day. College saving plans can help you create a roadmap for saving and investing your money, so you don’t take on astronomical debt.

College Saving Strategies

  • Start saving now. The earlier you start, the more your money will be able to grow. You want to borrow as little money as possible because interest rates effectively double your costs.
  • Invest that money. There are several different ways to invest the money you’re saving for college, and a 529 plan is the most popular. There are a variety of 529 plans to choose from, and they all offer tax benefits for families saving for future college costs. Each state has different rules and requirements, but many allow you to contribute over $250,000. Most plans offer different investment options to choose from, like mutual funds, ETFs, and CDs.
  • Think about locking in the price of tuition. Many states offer prepaid tuition plans that allow you to lock in tuition and fees at state colleges and universities at today’s prices. The Private College 529 Plan is similarly structured and covers 270 private institutions, including Duke and MIT. These plans typically allow you to convert them into a standard 529 plan if your student doesn’t attend one of the plan’s colleges. While prepaid tuition plans have been tremendously popular, many states have had to scale them back because of economic downturns. Before you invest in a prepaid tuition plan, be sure to understand its requirements and limitations.
  • Don’t count on financial aid. While you should plan to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form, be aware that any 529 savings plans are considered assets that reduce the amount of aid you qualify for. However, this should by no means stop you from contributing to your college saving plan.
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Where’s the Best Place to Sell Your Gold?

With the price of gold surging to new heights, you may have some things sitting around your house that are more valuable than you realize. Selling old gold coins and jewelry is a popular way to get fast cash, but you need to find out where to sell gold so you get the highest price in a secure environment. While we no longer buy gold at CashMax, there are still a number of long standing and reputable gold buyers in the state of Texas.

Do Your Homework

When selling your gold, it is best to choose a reputable buyer to ensure you are getting a fair deal. Hotel road shows, or “pop-up shops,” are known for underpaying. It’s best to avoid them altogether.

Neighborhood gold parties are also popular because they’re fun and convenient. Just be aware that many people are splitting a portion of the profits, and they typically mix karats when weighing the pieces. This means you may not get as much money as you would from another source.

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1433 Hits

What are the Advantages of Renting?

CashMax is your headquarters for personal and auto title loans. When a bill, repair, or other life event happens, we are here for you to depend on. Our goal is to also provide money saving tips to help you even further. Let us show you the advantages of renting, which can help you save money instantly and in the long run.

No Maintenance

The largest perk of renting is the convenience of maintenance. The landlord handles and pays for maintenance, leaving you free of the charges of a leaky faucet or cracking roof. These costly expenses can make owning a home expensive.

No Property Tax

Homes are becoming increasingly larger, as many seek secluded and suburban locations to live. With more property comes bigger taxes. Taxes can also be high based on the value of your property. Renters, luckily, do not worry about the expense of taxes. Some taxes are a massive burden depending on the county a home is based in.

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1269 Hits

Explore Some Apps to Save Money

Here at CashMax, we are your source to help you with fast cash. When unexpected occurrences happen like a car repair or medical bill, many turn to us for assistance. Let us help you prepare for your next big bill with a few suggestions of apps to save money.

Free Apps to Download

Saving money doesn’t have to cost you anything. There are many apps you can download right now onto a compatible smart phone. Here are some of the apps we recommend:

Level

You don’t have to break out a pen, paper, and a calculator to estimate a budget. Level tracks the amount of money in your bank account, and it will tell you how much money you can spend each day. You can track spending habits like your daily coffee, and it will give you a prediction of how much money you will spend and show you what you have spent on those habits.

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Be in the Know About Renter Protection

If you’re among the millions of Americans who rent their homes instead of owning, it’s a good idea to become educated about renter protection and your rights as a renter.

We all have stories about nightmare landlords—and even a good landlord can unwittingly violate your renter rights. So arm yourself with knowledge and safeguard your interests in every rental situation.

Security Deposits

A security deposit is something most renters don’t think much about—until they’re moving out and they want their money back.

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