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Elderly Woman getting scammed

Scamming Senior Citizens

Elderly Woman getting scammedAn interesting article was published in USA Today entitled: Are you a victim of these scams targeting seniors?

The article was written by Kevin McCoy and published on February 15, 2017.

According to the article, the top Fraud Complaints in 2016 are the following:

  • IRS Impersonation Scams
    These involve IRS impersonators who call seniors and threaten them unless alleged tax debts are paid.
  • Sweepstakes scams
    With sweepstakes scams, victims are called and told to pay a fee to collect prize money that they have purportedly won.
  • Robocalls/ Unwanted Phone Calls
    Technology is utilized that enable scammers to reach potential victims.
  • Computer Scams
    Callers call and impersonate representatives of well-known technology companies. People are then persuaded to allow remote computer access to their home computers, and then charged fees to remove purported electronic viruses that have been installed on their computers.
  • Elder Financial Abuse
    Friends and or relatives gain access to victims’ funds by using the victims’ identification data, bank accounts, social security numbers and passwords.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has stated that the most pervasive impersonation fraud in IRS history is taking place. Seniors are contacted by impersonators of the IRS who telephone Americans and then threaten to arrest them unless alleged tax debts are not paid immediately. People have been victimized in more than 21 states. Once reached by phone, they were instructed to wire thousands of dollars via MoneyGram or Walmart-2—Walmart Money Transfer Services to the names of people in other states.

The article cautions people to remember that the IRS does not make phone calls asking you for personal information, bank information or your Social Security numbers.

According to the article, the Senate Special Committee on Aging Fraud Hotline (1-855-303-9470) reported that seniors accounted for nearly 33% of the consumers who reported their age in 2016 complaints filed with the Federal Trade Commission. Billions of dollars are taken from seniors who are victims of financial scamming.

The Vermont Attorney General’s Office requests Vermonters to report possible scams to the Consumer Assistance Program at 800-649-2424 (toll free from 802 area code numbers) or 802-656-3183.

So check in with your family members. If they consent to it, make sure that they know you are willing to help them, whether through reporting a financial scam that has impacted them, or in completing a Durable General Power of Attorney, that will allow you, with their consent to assist them with their finances.

Aaron J. Goldberg, PLC can assist your family member, and you, in preparing a Durable General Power of Attorney, and any other estate planning document that may be needed. Please contact us today to get started.

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Attorneys with Aaron J. Goldberg, PLC are members of the Vermont Bar Association and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.