When money gets tight we all look for clever ways that we can save a few dollars. However, sometimes the “clever life hacks” that people use to save money are actually against the law. It’s one thing to try to cut down on your expenses, but carrying out illegal practices in order to save money can be a risky game. Using the excuse that “everyone does it” or “it’s really not so bad” will not help your case.
In all seriousness, if you are facing trouble with the criminal courts, check out this resource centre, Prime Lawyers’ criminal law section, which covers a very broad range of offences. You can get info on what you should do and what the possible outcomes may be if you are indeed charged.
Here are some of the lesser known evils – money saving strategies that are actually illegal:
Using Someone Else’s Name to Obtain Credit
There have been many incidents reported in the past of people applying for credit under another name, usually because they have a poor credit rating and they know that the other person will be more likely to be accepted and will be given a lower interest rate.
This is unquestionably illegal and quite unethical as well. Imagine how the other person will feel when they find out that you have stolen their good credit just to save a little money. If you have poor credit it is much better to work to improve it, rather than trying to trick the system through fraud.
Perhaps you are into saving money via those mail-in rebates which give you discounts when you buy multiples of a specific item? This is a great way to save some cash, but some people have reported using tricks to get more from their coupons, such as submitting multiple rebates under different names.
Believe it or not, altering coupons in this way is actually considered fraud and it is against the law. The risk of getting caught is not worth the savings, so make sure that you are only using coupons as they are intended to be used.
Dodgy Tax Write Offs
When you are filing your taxes, there are certain things that you can write off as tax free expenses. For example, if you run a home business and you invest in a desk, computer chair, laptop and other relevant business supplies it is generally acceptable to write off these things. However, getting too creative with what you count as “business expenses” can really get you in trouble with the tax authorities.
Starting a “food blog” so that you can write off your entire grocery bill or writing off your mobile phone bill when you use it 90% for personal calls and only 10% for business calls will start to look a little suspicious. Try not to mix your personal expenses with your business expenses when you are filing your taxes, as tempting as it might be. Being audited is not fun.
Let’s face it, probably many people you know download films, music and television shows in order to save money. Why pay for a movie ticket or a CD, when you could enjoy it for free?
However, downloading copyrighted material is against the law in Australia and you can get in trouble if you are caught. In fact, according to this article monitoring groups are watching what you download! Keep this in mind and consider the risk of downloading that new blockbuster film.
These are just a few of the unethical and illegal ways that some people use to save money. It’s tempting to want to save as much money as we can, but be careful to avoid committing a crime on your way to a more frugal lifestyle.