The IRS Telephone Scam | Don’t Be Fooled
- July 5, 2018 - Elder Financial Abuse,
Just yesterday I received a call on my answering machine. Supposedly it came from the IRS. The message started off in a robotic voice,
“This is the IRS. You owe our agency a large sum of funds in back taxes. You must call us at such-and-such a number by tomorrow, or we will issue a warrant for your arrest.”
Needless to say, I didn’t bother calling the scammers back. I found the message somewhat humorous, but the truth is that millions of Americans receive these bogus calls and emails every week. And while most people will realize they’re dealing with an attempted fraud, a small percentage don’t realize they’re being deceived. It’s usually the elderly who fall for this form of scam because of conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s and general cognitive decline. The terrible thing is that before loved ones realize something is wrong, it’s often too late. The senior might have already transferred a fortune to the wrongdoers, and the chances for recovery are near zero after that.
What do you need to know to protect your elderly loved ones from the IRS scam? Let’s get the basics down:
- The IRS will never call to demand immediate payment. The IRS always sends a bill first before contacting a taxpayer.
- The IRS will never demand that you pay your taxes without allowing you to question the amount or make an appeal.
- The IRS will never request you use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a credit card.
- The IRS will never ask you for your credit or debit card number over the phone.
- The IRS will never call you out of the blue and threaten you with indictment, arrest or other legal sanctions.
If you’re a senior and you’re unsure of a phone call supposedly from an official institution like the IRS, check with a loved one or friend. And if you have an elder relative, make sure to look out for their well-being – communicate with them, learn their concerns, and protect them from predators.