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Published For RAUS MembersWinter 2016
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IRS Warns Taxpayers of Numerous Tax Scams Nationwide; Provides Summary of Most Recent Schemes
From IRS.GOV
IR-2016-164, Dec. 8, 2016

WASHINGTON - As tax season approaches, the Internal Revenue Service, the states and the tax industry reminded taxpayers to be on the lookout for an array of evolving tax scams related to identity theft and refund fraud.

Every tax season, there is an increase in schemes that target innocent taxpayers by email, by phone and on-line. The IRS and Security Summit partners remind taxpayers and tax professionals to be on the lookout for these deceptive schemes.

 "Whether it's during the holidays or the approach of tax season, scam artists look for ways to use tax agencies and the tax industry to trick and confuse people," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "There are warning signs to these scams people should watch out for, and simple steps to avoid being duped into giving these criminals money, sensitive financial information or access to computers."

This marks the fourth reminder to taxpayers during the "National Tax Security Awareness Week." This week, the IRS, the states and the tax community are sending out a series of reminders to taxpayers and tax professionals as part of the ongoing Security Summit effort.

Some of the most prevalent IRS impersonation scams include:
  • Requesting fake tax payments
  • Targeting students and parents and demanding payment for a fake "Federal Student Tax"
  • Sending a fraudulent IRS bill for tax year 2015 related to the Affordable Care Act
  • Soliciting W-2 information from payroll and human resources professionals
  • Imitating software providers to trick tax professionals
  • "Verifying" tax return information over the phone
  • Pretending to be from the tax preparation industry
If you receive an unexpected call, unsolicited email, letter or text message from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here are some of the tell-tale signs to help protect yourself.

The IRS Will Never:
  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer or initiate contact by e-mail or text message. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
If you get a suspicious phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here's what you should do:
  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
  • Search the web for telephone numbers scammers leave in your voicemail asking you to call back. Some of the phone numbers may be published online and linked to criminal activity.
  • Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their "IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting" web page or call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the "FTC Complaint Assistant" on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.
  • If you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.
If you receive an unsolicited email that appears to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), report it by sending it to phishing@irs.gov.

The IRS also provides a variety of resources for tax professionals about security threats posed by identity theft issues targeting the industry through its Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself campaign.

Taxpayers and Tax Professionals can help spread the word on this week's messages using the hashtag #TaxSecurity in social media platforms.

Read full article.
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Scientists discover the link between energy drinks and blood pressure level
From dailytimesgazette.com

Energy drinks have always been a choice of beverage for those who want to keep it up and stay up. But these drinks, like any other synthetic and formulated drinks, come with side effects. Energy drinks have been found to cause heart diseases, unhealthy behavior, and attention problems in children and may leave you sleepless. There is a new finding that links energy drinks with your blood pressure level and increase the risk of cardiac events.

A study was conducted at Mayo Clinic and to be presented soon at American College of Cardiology showed results that non-frequent caffeine drinkers who drank energy drink experienced a higher blood pressure level increase than those who does. According to another research at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions, energy drinks really increases blood pressure and disturb heart natural rhythm.

In the study conducted by the American College of Cardiology, they gave commercially available energy drinks or a placebo drink to 25 healthy young adults between ages 19-40 and observed the changes that may happen in the heart rate and blood pressure. The heart rate and blood pressure are recorded before and 30 minutes after they drank the energy drink or placebo drink. They were also compared between participants who do not drink caffeinated products or those who consume less than 160 mg of caffeine per day and those who are regularly drink caffeinated drunks. Results show that those who consumed the energy drink experienced an increase in the blood pressure level. But those who consumed placebo drinks did not experience that much of a rise in the blood pressure level. An increase in the blood pressure was most evident in the participants who do not regularly drink caffeinated drinks.

The effects of the energy drink to the heart rate and blood pressure are also more evident to people who are older which might have a higher risk to these side effects. Also, people with an existing medical condition might also experience a higher increase in the blood pressure level after consuming energy drink.

The real culprit to these side effects has not been identified specifically. Most studies are hitting the fact that energy drinks contain caffeine but other components in the energy drink might be the cause of these side-effects other than caffeine. But medical experts say that even with these findings against energy drinks, it is still safe to consume them from time to time. Further research still needs to be done in order to specify and verify the results that had been presented in these studies. But caution must be observed when consuming these because excessive drinking of energy drinks might result to a higher risk than what has been found in these studies. It is still better to drink moderately or at safe levels in order to avoid a worse medical condition.
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Get Active
From healthfinder.gov 
Regular physical activity is good for everyone's health! Physical activity is anything that gets your body moving. Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate activity each week. 

If you haven't been active before, start at a comfortable level. Once you get the hang of it, add a little more activity each time. Then try getting active more often.

What kinds of activity should I do? 
To get all the health benefits of physical activity, do a combination of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.
  • Aerobic ("air-OH-bik") activities make you breathe harder and cause your heart to beat faster. Walking fast is an example of aerobic activity.
  • Muscle-strengthening activities make your muscles stronger. Muscle-strengthening activities include lifting weights, using resistance bands, and doing push-ups.
Exercise and physical activity fall into four basic categories-endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Most people tend to focus on one activity or type of exercise and think they're doing enough. Each type is different, though. Doing them all will give you more benefits. Mixing it up also helps to reduce boredom and cut your risk of injury.

Though we've described each type separately, some activities fit into more than one category. For example, many endurance activities also build strength. Strength exercises also help improve balance.
Endurance

Endurance, or aerobic, activities increase your breathing and heart rate. They keep your heart, lungs, and circulatory system healthy and improve your overall fitness. Building your endurance makes it easier to carry out many of your everyday activities.
  • Brisk walking or jogging
  • Yard work (mowing, raking, digging)
  • Dancing
Strength 
Strength exercises make your muscles stronger. Even small increases in strength can make a big difference in your ability to stay independent and carry out everyday activities, such as climbing stairs and carrying groceries. These exercises also are called "strength training" or "resistance training." 
  • Lifting weights
  • Using a resistance band
  • Using your own body weight
Balance 
Balance exercises help prevent falls, a common problem in older adults. Many lower-body strength exercises also will improve your balance.
  • Standing on one foot
  • Heel-to-toe walk
  • Tai Chi
Flexibility 
Flexibility exercises stretch your muscles and can help your body stay limber. Being flexible gives you more freedom of movement for other exercises as well as for your everyday activities.
  • Shoulder and upper arm stretch
  • Calf stretch
  • Yoga
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Renew Memberships Online
At the request of our members, RAUS is pleased to provide the ability to renew their membership online and pay by credit or debit card. Just go to our website at www.raushome.com and click on the Online Dues Renewal button.

If you are considering converting to a Lifetime Membership, click on the Membership button and select Life Membership.

Authorize.Net
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UpdateKeep Us Accurate
To be sure your benefits are properly recorded, please advise the association when you change your name or address. If you receive inaccurate membership cards or other correspondence, we want to know. We do not mind reissuing membership cards.
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ID Theft Identity Theft Protection Service For RAUS Members

AllClear ID is the technology leader in the identity protection and credit monitoring market. The patented identity protection technology developed by AllClear ID makes it simple for you to protect your identity, and easy to take action if your personal information is compromised. RAUS members will enjoy a 20% discount off the regular monthly rate.

Just go to our website at www.raushome.com and click on the Discounts button and select Technology & Security. From there, go to the AllClear ID login page and input the following Activation Code: "raus". This will allow you to register and receive the discounted rate.
All Clear
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Watch out for Craigslist scams
Kim Komando , Special for USA TODAY

If you use Craigslist to buy or sell locally, you know that you have to be careful. Three new scams are hitting Craigslist. Here's what you need to know so you don't become the next victim.

2. Rental or home listings

After John Darr of New Albany, Ind., listed his home for sale, he began noticing suspicious activity. People were coming to his house and walking all around the property. Some were even coming right up to his front porch and peering through the windows.

Darr later learned that scammers had posted his home as a rental property on Craigslist, describing it as a cozy three-bedroom, two-bathroom house for only $600 per month. All the applicants had to do was send in their personal information, along with a security deposit.

But Darr's home was not for rent. He wasn't fully aware of what had happened until he received a strange message on Facebook.

"The message asked ... was I selling the house or was I renting the house? Because she had some concerns that somebody was running a scam with my name," Darr explained.

The Craigslist post made several false claims. One said the property owners were leaving the country for three or four years on a mission trip. The scammer offered false contact information and said he would correspond with interested applicants. Through this correspondence, the scammer was able to obtain personal information from his victims and even arrange for money transfers.

So here are some red flags. If you're unable to meet with the owner or some type of property manager at a rental property, and if no one can meet you for a tour of the home, that's one. Another is an extravagant story that explains why the owner will be away. And you should never be asked to wire money to your new landlord, especially before you've had the chance to tour the property.

If you find a property that you believe is listed as part of a scam, report it to law enforcement.
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Membership Dues
AGE RANGELIFE DUES
40 or less$325
41 to 45$300
46 to 50$275
51 to 55$250
56 to 60$225
61 to 65$200
66 to 70$175
70 and up$100
Membership
Annual dues are $15 per year. Discounts apply for multiple year memberships: 3 years for $37 and 5 years for $60. Like memberships are available based on the age of the member at the time of the Life conversion. A Life Membership is exempt of dues increase and covers both the member and the spouse.
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About RAUS

    We are a non-political military association organized in 1970 to secure quality benefits for our members at rates only available to groups. Qualified retired and active members of the United States armed forces and related departments may join.

    Membership benefits include discounts and perks, self-help and financial calculators, time-savings and educational resources, along with TRICARE Supplement, CHAMPVA Supplement and other insurance products.

    RAUS is partnering with other organizations to establish a long term win-win relationship based on mutual benefits and information available to military families.

    For more information, visit our website at www.raushome.com.

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