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Warn aging family members and friends about tax scams

As tax season starts to wind down for the year, the IRS warned that tax scammers were again targeting our seniors with demands related to back taxes and threats that law enforcement are on their way. Another variant might include a threat to file a lawsuit. Everyone needs to know that actual IRS agents do not initiate contact over the phone.

The service reminded taxpayers that it does not demand immediate payment or threaten to send the FBI or local law enforcement. While the IRS will again start working with private collections firms this year. Letters via the mail will inform you that a past due tax balance is being transferred.


Legislation designed to help seniors

This blog has covered numerous variants on tax-related scams. Seniors are common targets, but executives and HR professionals have also been duped into providing sensitive employee information.

New legislation introduced by New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand could reduce the success rate of these schemes. The bill would create a national hotline and add resources for law enforcement to hold seminars and train on identifying these scams.

National Public Radio reported that even Gillibrand’s family had been affected. Her aunt lost money in an IRS tax scam. Her aunt was so embarrassed that she told few of their family members.

Remember, the IRS always offers you the opportunity to appeal the amount that they claim you owe. In addition, the IRS or an approved private collection agency will not ask for debit or credit card numbers over the phone.

When someone claims to be from the IRS and mentions sending law enforcement, it should send up red flags. Hang up and call the IRS or a tax attorney to discuss any worries about a potential tax bill. If you determine it was a scam, please report it to the IRS or the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

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