IRS Provides Recommendations to Protect Against Senior Scams

IRS Warns seniors about scamsThe IRS recently issued a press release (IR-2024-164) warning about the rising threat of impersonation scams targeting seniors where fraudsters imitate government officials to obtain sensitive personal information and money.

“Preventing these types of scams requires assistance from many different places,” said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. “By partnering with other federal agencies and others in the tax community, we can reach more seniors and other taxpayers to help protect them against these terrible scams.”

Taxpayers are reminded that, in general, IRS communications are sent via regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service. In some cases, the IRS may call or make visits. Such instances include overdue tax bills, unfiled tax returns, or missing employment tax deposits. In addition, an IRS employee may review assets or inspect a business during a collection inquiry, audit, or criminal case.

It’s important to remember that the IRS will NEVER:

  • Require immediate payment using prepaid debit cards, gift cards, or wire transfers. If taxes are owed, the IRS will usually send you a bill in the mail first.
  • Ask for credit, debit, or gift card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to engage local police or other law enforcement.
  • Demand payment without providing an opportunity to challenge or appeal the amount owed.

Staying cautious and knowledgeable about these scams can help taxpayers avoid financial losses and identity theft.

As part of the effort to raise awareness and protect seniors, the IRS endorses the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), held on June 15. Its purpose is to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons. This year’s theme, “Respecting the Wisdom of Elders,” emphasizes the inherent value and contributions of older adults to society, while also highlighting the urgent need for respect, support, and protection. With populations aging rapidly and societal structures evolving, the importance of safeguarding seniors against exploitation and mistreatment is critical.

The United States Department of Justice established the National Elder Fraud Hotline to combat elder fraud and assist those affected. Elder fraud victims should contact the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 833-FRAUD-11 (833-372-8311).

Contact your HW&Co. advisor for more information about protecting seniors from tax scams.