Recently, two of my friends presented me with what they referred to as an opportunity to be blessed and to also be a blessing to others. With high rates of unemployment, rental evictions, Congress on vacation and the economy in shambles, I was curious to understand the blessing circle. In order to be blessed, I needed to bring in two people, contribute $100.00 dollars and they also needed to contribute at least the same amount each. Within minutes of my conversation with each of them, it was clear who was getting blessed, when they were getting blessed and how they were going to get blessed. While I’m not a bishop, minister of biblical expert on blessings, I am an IRS theologian. And the more I listened the more this opportunity sounded like a scam. Consider the following before you end up, too stressed to be blessed instead of too blessed to be stressed!
Check with your Local State Attorney’s Office
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is! These blessing opportunities are being presented as a way to bless individuals in low income communities or businesses. The tragedy is that individuals in these communities are the most vulnerable, have the least resources to invest and are strong faith believers. If you are now joining, you are at the bottom of the “water” or “fire” experience. In order to be blessed, others will have to continue joining or else your blessing might turn into a curse. Under Maryland law Section 8-404, you could find out that your blessing might be awaiting you behind bars. In Maryland call (410) 528-8662 or www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov.
Is it a Gift or Taxable?
For some of you this might be a surprise, but all income is taxable whether legally or illegally obtained unless specifically excluded from gross income. If you need further clarity, consult a copy of IRS Code Section 61. It might also be prudent for you to know that these types of activities are considered more criminal than consumer related and the FBI may get involved. How does it become criminal? It’s criminal because you solicited others to participate. If you have additional questions you may call depending on where you live (410) 265-8080. Currently, they are receiving thousands of calls regarding these situations.
Apply Common Sense
Even if you’re not a person of faith or religion, the advice in the Living Bible (TLB) version of Proverbs chapter 14 and verse 15 seems like common sense. It reads, “Only a simpleton believes everything he’s told! A prudent man understands the need for proof.” If you’ve missed everything I say, please note that these “blessing circles” are not ”sou-sou.” They are scams or pyramids as per my conversation with the Maryland Attorney General’s Office. These opportunities as presented to draw you in through close family and personal relationships. People are usually, hoodwinked through someone with whom they have a trusted relationship.
“Caution should always be the prime form of interaction or approach with any unknown quantity.”