As tax season hits full swing, seniors should be on guard against tax scams and other fraudulent activities that can cheat them out of their money. It’s not unusual for seniors to be the target of scammers out to rob them of their retirement funds.
The IRS is on Your Side
Every year the IRS alerts seniors about possible scams affecting their area. By heeding IRS warnings, you can avoid scammers and protect your financial interests. Here are a few scam techniques that elderly individuals should be leery of:
- Unknown for-profit tax firms or individuals offering unsolicited tax services.
- Unknown tax individuals promising seniors benefits from expired programs.
- Unknown companies offering “fast and efficient” online tax services by simply filling out an online form.
- Individuals posing as IRS agents offering tax breaks or requesting back taxes.
Tax scams can occur by phone, fax, mail or via the Internet, making it essential that seniors use great care when conducting their business affairs.
Here are some of the most common scams seniors should be aware of:
Health Care Scam: Many seniors have been the victim of health care scams in which individuals pose as Medicare representatives requesting an update on their contact information. They then use this data to gain access to social security numbers, driver’s license or other confidential information they can use to place false Medicare claims and make money.
Financial Adviser Scam: Unscrupulous financial advisers can take advantage of trusting seniors to exploit money out of their pension. Seniors should always keep tabs on their investment accounts or have trustworthy family members do it for them.
Grandchild or Great Grandchild Scam: Scammers have been known to call seniors pretending they are grandchildren or great grandchildren and requesting money for college or other needs. Nowadays, it’s quite easy for people to glean personal information about others from their Facebook, Twitter or other social media account. This info can be used to trick consumers into thinking that the caller is actually a relative.
Drug Scam: Seniors who shop online for drugs or anti-aging products may get scammed by a fictitious pharmacy. They run the risk of getting counterfeit drugs or purchasing products that are never sent at all.
Tech Support Scam: Seniors may receive an urgent call from someone claiming to be a Microsoft technician informing them they have a virus on their computer. The caller will then offer to clean the computer for a specified amount of money to be paid via credit card or online. People who refuse the services are often threatened with viral destruction of their equipment.
By being forewarned, you can take necessary precautions to avoid being the victim of fraud. Working with a trustworthy Friendship at Home caregiver makes it easier to manage your finances and safeguard your assets. Financial management is but one of many home services provided by Friendship at Home care coordinators to ensure you are well taken care of in your golden years.