Wednesday, March 29, 2017

FBAR Scam, but not illegal

FBAR (not to be confused with FUBAR, but the one can lead to the other) is a government required Foreign Bank Account Reporting that you must file if you have one or more foreign bank accounts that total more than $10,000 in assets. It is another of the methods the USA uses to track illegal drug trafficking money. I won't comment on how effective it all is, but there is a sort-of scam you need to be aware of.

Yeah, you didn't want to read all that. Here's the scam.

If you google FBAR, the very first link reads:

Fbar Filing - FinCEN Foreign Bank Accounts Form - and links to Don't click it!

It's a legitimate link and they ask you all the correct FBAR questions. When you finish, they want you to pay them $350 to file for you!

Go to the FREE Government Link

The government web site asks exactly the same questions, in exactly the same order and then lets you file for FREE with the USA.

So what the "efilefbar" people are doing is legitimate, but misleading and (in my opinion) not very ethical. Oh, and if you fill out all their boxes and squares (thinking you are on the free government site), but realize your mistake when they ask for money - then they start sending you email messages to tell you how much the government can penalize you for not filing the FBAR.

The government will penalize you if you don't file and should, and they'll penalize you a LOT. So file, but do it directly with the government for free.

It's a brilliant business model, though a first-year programming student could design their site. It just isn't right - getting people to pay their hard-earned money for something that is free elsewhere.

Thanks for reading.

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