IRS Warns Seniors to Remain on Alert to Phone Scams

In 2016, the IRS Scam was the most reported scam on the Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker. With tax season here, scammers will again be aggressively targeting seniors. To learn more, watch this 1:30 video from the IRS

Con artists posing as IRS agents often target seniors, sometimes even giving fake IRS identification badge numbers. They claim the victim owes back taxes, that must be paid immediately. To gain trust and gather personal information, they may tell potential victims they are entitled to a refund. They may even know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number.

When these tactics don’t work, the scammer will often hang up. They then call back, this time becoming hostile and insulting. They threaten jail time, deportation, or driver’s license revocation. They may even call back pretending to be the local police to back up their claims.

There are some telltale signs that the caller is a scammer and not an authorized IRS agent. The IRS and its authorized agencies will never:

  • Demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS will mail a bill before calling any taxpayer. All payments should be made only to the U.S. Treasury and never to a third party.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have taxpayer arrested for non payment.
  • Demand payment without the opportunity for questions or appeal.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

To avoid being scammed:

  • Do not give out any personal information.
  • Hang up immediately.
  • Report the attempted scam to the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov.
  • Call the IRS at 800-829-1040 and speak to an IRS employee if you think you might owe taxes, or are unsure.
  • Also, remember the IRS doesn’t use email, text messages, or social media to discuss personal tax issues.

The elderly are often more susceptible to such scams. Many times they forget the guidelines or feel uncomfortable following these recommendations because they are worried about seeming rude. Learn how teleCalm provides peace of mind for caregivers and their loved ones, by consistently eliminating all telemarketers and scammers.