1. There are 329’ish million adults in the USA. The government isn’t going to contact you via text, Facebook, email, or phone calls to “sign up”. Uncle Sam ain’t got time for that.

2. The government operates with taxpayer funded money (simply stated). They are not going to charge you a fee, ask for a gift card, or conduct a two-way transaction with you.

3. If you’ve ever mistyped your account number when filing your income taxes (like I have), you know that it’s a pain to get the IRS to correct it. They aren’t going to call you to “double check” your banking information.

4. Unprecedented is the word of the month. If somebody has a grand idea to cut losses specifically for you that the entire globe is feeling, be wary. Google Bernie Madoff, for example.

5. Be your own financial advocate. We are fortunate enough to live in a time period where the answer to EVERYTHING is online. Check your sources. Be aware. Pay attention. Dispose of the “better safe than sorry” mentality and adopt a “better safe than insolvent” one.