The Influence of Inflation
What do The Dukes of Hazzard, M*A*S*H, and The Love Boat all have in common? They were top-rated television programs in 1982; the last time inflation was hovering in the 7%–8% range.
When inflation is running hot, you can feel its overreach in almost every corner of the economy. People see it when they buy gas at the grocery store, but its influence touches mortgage rates, credit card debt, and overall consumer confidence.
Managing inflation is the job of the Federal Reserve, and the Fed’s approach with monetary policy reflects its near single-minded focus on higher prices in 2022. The Fed raised short-term interest rates at its March meeting, and Fed Chair Powell signaled more is needed before the Fed can wrestle control of inflation.
It may be only a matter of time before the Fed’s policies temper inflation. Some see a change in the second half of the year, while others say 2023 is more likely. But in the months ahead, it’s possible inflation reports will bring back memories of Laverne & Shirley and Magnum, P.I.
If you’re feeling an inflation pinch and want to discuss your monthly budget, please reach out. In the meantime, our team will monitor the situation and keep you updated if we believe any portfolio changes are needed.
Your Eagle Wealth Team
It’s Tax Day! Be on the Lookout for Tax Scams.
While today might be Tax Day, please keep in mind that tax scams are prevalent right now. Criminals running phishing scams will impersonate the IRS or other federal agencies in an attempt to steal your money or identity. These messages may contain alarming language that pressures you into sharing your information. If you’re unsure if a message you’ve received is legitimate or fraudulent, here are some red flags to watch out for.
Asks for Personal or Financial Information
The IRS will never initiate contact with you via email, phone, text, or social media asking for personal or financial info. If they do initiate contact, it will be by mail through the U.S. Postal Service. There are some circumstances where the IRS will call or come to your home or business, but generally, you’ll receive several notices in the mail first.
If you receive a phone call or email asking for your information, do not respond. Scammers may attempt to use your identity to file a tax return in your name or cause other financial hardships. Instead, check the IRS website to learn the best way to report the message.
Attempts to Look “Legitimate”
Fraudulent emails will go to great lengths to appear like the real thing. They may use a federal agency’s logo or watermark and style the message to look like an official email. If you receive a suspicious email, do not click any links or open any attachments. The same applies to text and social media messages.
Phone scammers can mask their caller ID to look like an IRS office or other federal agency. The caller may also provide a fake badge number to seem more legitimate. If this happens, take a note of the badge number so you can add it to your report.
Creates a Sense of Urgency
Phone scammers usually leave pre-recorded voicemails that ask you to call back immediately. These messages often contain threats to bring in law enforcement if you don’t respond. Scammers may also pressure you to pay over the phone and ask for credit or debit card numbers, gift cards, or wire transfers.
Please note the IRS will never ask for payment over the phone. Generally, they will send you a bill in the mail. Also, as part of your rights as a taxpayer, the IRS allows you to question or appeal your owed amounts.
Have you received a suspicious message claiming to be the IRS? Here’s what to do:
- If it’s a phone call, hang up and do not give them your personal information
- If it’s an email or text, do not reply to the message. Don’t open any links or attachments
- Make a note of the date and time you received the message
- Report the message to the IRS: https://www.irs.gov/privacy-disclosure/report-phishing
To learn more about different phishing schemes, visit the IRS website.