July 17, 2024

Image courtesy of AARP

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) put out an alarm on Wednesday about escalating counterfeit scams. This occurs in their ongoing bid to put measures in place to protect elderly Americans.

These hoaxes aim at senior citizens throughout the U.S., including Mississippi, by mimicking government agents. The goal is to steal personal information and money from them. Con artists, by pretending as staff from governmental departments like the IRS, exploit their targets using intimidation and trickery.

“Scam artists frequently target elderly individuals, aiming to pilfer confidential data via calls, emails or texts by mimicking the IRS or other industries or institutions,” said Danny Werfel, IRS Commissioner. “To prevent these types of scams, we need help from different angles. Collaborating with other federal organizations and those in the tax sector allows us to broaden our reach to more seniors and taxpayers, hence, strengthening their guard against these dreadful scams.”

Specific instances of scams focusing on the aged involve:

– **Duplication of Recognized Entities** — Scammers frequently pretend to be employees from governmental departments — such as the IRS, the Social Security Administration, and Medicare — tax professionals or known businesses and charities. They deceive victims into believing that they are legitimate interactions by faking caller IDs.

– **Claims of Issues or Prizes** — Scammers often contrive pressing situations, like outstanding debts or huge prize winnings. Victims might be falsely told they are indebted to the IRS, or they are owed a tax refund, they need to authenticate accounts, or they need to pay fees to receive fictitious lottery winnings.

– **Demand for Immediate Action** — These fraudsters urge their victims to act without time for pondering. Tactics include threats of arrest, deportation, license suspension, or computer viruses to force quick compliance.

– **Specified Payment Ways** — Scammers stipulate untraditional payment methods such as cryptocurrency, wire transfers, payment apps, or gift cards to complicate tracing. They often ask victims to provide sensitive details like gift card numbers.

Should an individual get an unexpected call from one purporting to be from the IRS, but has not received any mail notifications about issues with their IRS account, they should immediately hang up – it is most likely a scam call.

IRS authorities remind the public, particularly the elderly, that their agents will never ask for credit card details over the phone, demand payment without first mailing a letter, or threaten to involve law enforcement for delayed or overdue tax payments.

Scams can be reported here or by dialing (800)366-4484.

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###### Frequently Asked Questions

1. What type of scams are the elderly being targeted with?

Several forms of scams involve the aged being tricked by scammers pretending to be employees from governmental departments, fabrication of urgent scenarios such as outstanding debts or large prize winnings, creating a sense of urgency to act promptly and specifying untraditional payment methods.

2. How can these scams be identified and prevented?

These scams can be identified if an individual receives unexpected calls from someone claiming to be from the IRS without prior mail notifications about issues with their IRS account. IRS agents will never request for credit card information over the phone, demand for immediate payment without prior mail warning, or threaten to involve law enforcement over delayed tax payments.

3. What should be done if someone is thought to be a victim of this scam?

One should immediately hang up if they suspect they are being targeted. Any such scams should be reported to the federal agency [here](https://www.tigta.gov/hotline) or by calling (800)366-4484.