It’s tax time, and scam artists are zeroing in on seniors. The tough times mean scammers are even more desperate to separate you from your money.
Marie Maher, 93, says 3 she is quick to hang up the phone when she doesn’t know the person on the other end.She learned the hard way not to be an easy target for con artists.
Maher was the victim of a scam a few years ago, and she lost a good chunk of money to a man she callsa “fast talking” investor.
Unfortunately, Maher is part of a disturbing trend — crafty con artists preying on the elderly.
With tax season in full swing and the economy in a downward slide, it’s important to have your guard up.
“They come up with everything you can possibly think of,” says Rob Costello, owner of Home Instead Senior Care. “Most of the time they come through the phone. A lot of time they’ll come through the internet as well.”
Costello is warning about a popular phishing scam where an e-mail shows up in your inbox that looks like it’s from the IRS promising a refund in exchange for personal information.
“A lot of the tax scams are ‘You have a refund, give us your information and we’ll get you your refund,'” Costello warns. “Those kind of things make you think ‘I’m gonna get some money, here’s my info.'”
Bobby Anderson, owner of Liberty Tax Service, says it’s important to know the IRS does not e-mail and they do not call. Correspondence will be through the mail.
The tough times have a lot of people watching their wallet, and a little extra cash can be enticing. But if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Costello says scammers prey on desperate people.
If you’re worried about a loved one, the best thing you can do is make sure the seniors in your life have a strong support network.
Home Instead Senior Care has a list of tax time tips and scams available. Call them at 760-674-1905 for more information.