IRS Warns Scams Targeting Vulnerable Adults

The IRS has issued a warning about the increasing threat of impersonation scams targeting seniors. These scams involve fraudsters posing as government officials, including IRS agents, to steal sensitive personal information and money. By pretending to be representatives from agencies such as the IRS, Social Security Administration, or Medicare, these scammers contact their victims through phone calls, emails, or text messages, exploiting fear and urgency to deceive seniors. IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel emphasized that combating these scams requires a collective effort from multiple agencies and the broader tax community to effectively reach and protect seniors.

This warning comes as part of the lead-up to World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15. WEAAD, observed since 2006, aims to raise awareness about the neglect and abuse faced by millions of older adults. The IRS’s long-term efforts to protect against scams, including identity theft, have been ongoing since the establishment of the Security Summit<> partnership in 2015. Scammers use sophisticated techniques such as caller ID spoofing to create a false sense of legitimacy, often pressuring victims into making immediate payments through unconventional methods like gift cards or wire transfers. These fraudulent actors frequently fabricate urgent scenarios, claiming issues like outstanding debts or promising fictitious prize winnings to coerce their victims.

To help prevent these scams, the IRS has advised individuals to verify the legitimacy of any communications they receive. If an unexpected call or message is received, especially if no prior mail notification has been given, it is likely a scam. The IRS does not initiate contact through email, text, or social media regarding tax bills or refunds. Suspicious contacts should be reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration<>. By staying informed and cautious, seniors can better protect themselves from financial loss and identity theft. The IRS and other federal agencies continue to urge vigilance against these deceitful practices.