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Seniors & Scams

Seniors & Scams

                The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently released some new warnings on senior citizens and scams.   The Bureau reports that you can count on scammers to ramp up their efforts to prey on people’s generosity during the holiday season.

                During the holidays, the common scam known as the imposter or “grandparent scam” might be decorated with a special plea, a story of a relative in trouble who desperately needs money to fix a car or get out of jail – and home for the holidays.

                The scam known as the IRS scam takes on a vicious new twist with a scammer on the phone threatening an elder with being arrested and spending the holidays in jail for unpaid taxes or a fake debt. And then there is the predictable increase in false or imposter charities, which sound identical to the real ones.  Here are a few tips to avoid gifting you holiday dollars to a scammer:

                •Before offering your help to someone who claims to be a grandchild (or other relative/friend), be sure to telephone your family to verify that the emergency or urgent request is genuine. ◦Beware of a caller who insists on secrecy. Never allow anyone to discourage you from seeking information, verification, support and counsel from family members, friends or trusted advisers prior to making any financial transaction.

                • If a caller claims to be from an established organization such as a hospital, charity, or law enforcement agency, look up the number of the organization independently and verify the claim before sending money. ◦Ask for detailed information about the charity, including name, address, and telephone number. ◦Then, call the charity directly. Ask if the organization is aware of the solicitation and has authorized the use of its name.

                •If you have received a letter from the IRS stating that you owe taxes, call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 for information. ◦The IRS will neither call to demand immediate payment, nor call without first mailing a bill. And, the IRS does not require you to use a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card nor will they threaten you with arrest for not paying.

               

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