The Lebanon County District Attorney’s Office Elder Abuse Unit is issuing a reminder to seniors to be wary of attempts to financially exploit them.
A woman reported her elderly mother was contacted this week by a person representing they were from the Internal Revenue Service and were calling about late payments. When the woman did not cooperate with requests to send money, the caller threatened her with arrest and police contact. Although shaken and upset, the woman did not suffer a financial loss as a result of this contact but this incident serves as a reminder to all to be alert to scammers during the upcoming holiday season.
Phone scammers are targeting taxpayers and extorting money from them by pretending to be with the Internal Revenue Service. Scammers are able to spoof the caller ID and give the appearance the call is originating from the IRS. The scammers will call and say that the target owes money to the IRS and must pay immediately with a debit card or wire-transfer.
If the victim refuses, they are threatened with arrest, deportation, or having their business or driver’s license suspended. Frequently the caller will then become hostile and insulting.
The IRS is warning taxpayers not to fall for the scam, saying they will never ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone. They also say that if someone calls and threatens deportation or license revocation, that it is a good sign they are not legitimately from the IRS.
On a normal basis, the first contact a taxpayer will have with the IRS will be via mail.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and you have no reason to believe you owe taxes, call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.
District Attorney David Arnold offers these tips to avoid being taken by a con artist
- Stop and think carefully about any spur of the moment scheme. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Do not make withdrawals from your bank account at the request of strangers or new acquaintances.
- Don’t be fooled by persons claiming to be officials without verifying their identity. Banks or Law Enforcement Officials do not enlist help from customers or citizens to catch embezzlers or thieves. They have internal security staff to handle such matters.
- Be wary of any pressure to “act immediately or lose out.”
- Never give out or confirm any personal or financial account information with a caller you do not know.
- Never uses wire transfer services to send money to anyone you do not already have a relationship with.
If contacted by a con artist, citizens are urged to contact their local police department or Lebanon County District Attorney’s Office to report such activity.