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3 months ago
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Advisors: Warn Your Older Clients About This Vicious IRS Telephone Scam

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You may have heard of the fake calls from thieves pretending to be from the IRS. It can be a threatening robocall. Or it can be a male with an aggressive manner telling the recipient of the call that they will be arrested for owing back taxes if they don’t pay immediately. These criminals carefully select older people and anyone they consider vulnerable to their fake pressure. Your aging clients could be a target and scammers want to terrify them.

How do they get the names of our aging parents? They buy them. Information is for sale, from lottery entry forms, contests, magazine subscriptions and from hacking whatever can be hacked. Identity information can even be purchased on the black market. “Information brokers” have been around for decades and so have these telephone scams. Supposedly, the entities that sell the names don’t care what the buyer does with them. There are likely millions of names and telephone numbers available to the scammers, given the nationwide nature of their ripoff efforts. Apparently, names and numbers are very easy for them to get.

Here’s how it works: The caller catches the unsuspecting older person off guard. The call is official sounding: “This is Officer James with the Internal Revenue Service and I am calling about an urgent matter! Do not hang up!” Sometimes they are even able to secure a fake caller ID that says “IRS” or looks like a legitimate government entity to those with caller ID. There were also reported cases when they used the name and email address of a CFPB employee.

They then tell the stunned elder that they or their spouse has an overdue debt to the IRS and if it is not paid immediately they will be arrested. Of course, they want the elder to use a wire transfer or a prepaid debit card so the thief can’t be traced. The frightened person will hurriedly comply and realize only later that it was a scam. In the moment of reacting to the threat, they are not thinking clearly. They are moved by fear–just what the thief was hoping for.

No matter how many public service announcements are sent out, and no matter how many Federal Trade Commission, AARP or National Center on Elder Abuse warnings are posted, the scam is still working. We at AgingParents.com think the best way to keep our aging loved ones financially safer is to personally warn them yourself about these scams. They will probably listen to family more readily than they would seek information from the internet or official sources trying to spread the word. Of course, the IRS will never, under any circumstances call someone and demand payment of a debt. Their official communications about taxes are by snail mail.

If these evil scammers were not successful, they would stop doing this. But sadly, it works and they are relentless. My neighbors, many elders, have reported that they have gotten these calls this week. Beware. Please take the time to alert your loved ones to this problem. And don’t think your mentally alert aging loved one is too smart to fall for this. No one is immune from being shocked and intimidated by a sudden call. It can happen to anyone.

We at AgingInvestor.com think the best way to keep your older clients financially safer is to personally warn them yourself about these scams. They will probably listen to family more readily than they would seek information from the internet or official sources trying to spread the word. Of course, the IRS would never, under any circumstances call someone and demand payment of a debt. Their official communications about taxes are by snail mail and that is not likely to change anytime soon.

If these evil scammers were not successful, they would stop doing this. But sadly, it works and they are relentless. My own neighbors, many elders, have reported that they have gotten these calls this week. Beware. Please take the time to alert your clients to this problem. And don’t think your ever so sharp client is too smart to fall for this. No one is immune from being shocked and intimidated by a sudden call. It can happen to anyone

4 months ago
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