The IRS recently issued a warning that scammers have come up with a new way to steal identities and personal information by targeting deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Con artists are now using video relay services (VRS) to scam individuals with hearing deficits. IRS emphasized that deaf and hard of hearing taxpayers should avoid giving out personal and financial information to anyone they do not know. “Do not automatically trust calls just because they are made through VRS,” IRS said, adding that “VRS interpreters do not screen calls for validity.” More information on ways to protect yourself from scammers can be found on the IRS website.
Tax fraud and scams targeting senior citizens are a major concern of his agency, according to Congressional testimony by Timothy Camus, Deputy Inspector General for Investigations for the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). According to Camus, sweepstakes and lottery scams, e-mail and phishing scams, and investment scams are among the top ten fraud schemes used by criminals to target seniors. “Senior citizens are most likely to have a ‘nest egg,’ to own their home, and/or to have excellent credit - all of which make them attractive targets for con artists,” Camus said. “In addition, financial scams often go unreported by senior citizens or can be difficult to prosecute, so they are considered a “low-risk” crime,” he added. A significant portion of his remarks was devoted to the specifics concerning two tax-related fraud schemes: the impersonation of IRS employees and those who use lottery or sweepstakes swindles. You can view Camus's prepared testimony here.
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