Recognizing and Avoiding Tax Scams Targeting Seniors
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Recognizing and Avoiding Tax Scams Targeting Seniors

Seniors are often at a higher risk of falling prey to tax-related scams. As tax scammers become increasingly sophisticated, seniors need to be more alert and informed about the dangers of tax fraud. Here are the common signs of tax scams targeting seniors and some helpful tips for avoiding them. 

Recognizing Tax Scams

Scammers have developed sneaky tactics to deceive seniors and steal their personal information. Here are some common signs of tax-related fraud targeted at seniors:

  • Unsolicited emails or phone calls claiming to be from the IRS: The IRS rarely contacts taxpayers by email, text message, or social media. If you receive a message claiming to be from the IRS, it's likely a scam.
  • Requests for personal information or immediate payment: Scammers often ask for sensitive information such as Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, or credit card information. They may also demand immediate payment using methods like wire transfers or gift cards, which are common red flags.
  • Threats of legal action or arrest if payment is not made: The IRS always sends multiple written notices before taking any enforcement action. If someone threatens you with immediate arrest or legal action, it's another sign of a tax scam that targets seniors.

Tips for Avoiding Tax Scams

To protect yourself from tax scams, follow these guidelines:

1. Secure Your Personal Information

Do not share personal information with unsolicited callers or emailers. Use strong passwords and secure your online accounts to help prevent unauthorized access.

2. Verify the Legitimacy of Contacts

If you receive a request for tax-related information or payment, contact the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 to confirm its legitimacy. Be cautious of unsolicited emails or calls, even if they appear to be from a legitimate source.

3. Educate Yourself on Common Scams

Stay informed about the latest scams and fraud tactics targeting seniors, and share this information with friends and family members to help protect them.

Steps to Take If Victimized by a Tax Scam

If you believe you've been targeted by a tax scam, take the following steps to protect yourself:

1. Report the Incident to the IRS

Contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490, or file a report online at the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) website.

2. Protect Your Identity

Place a fraud alert on your credit reports by contacting one of the three major credit bureaus (EquifaxExperian, or TransUnion). This will make it more difficult for scammers to open new accounts in your name. Monitor your financial accounts and credit reports for any suspicious activity, and consider freezing your credit reports to prevent unauthorized access

3. Seek Professional Assistance

Consult with a tax professional or financial advisor to address any tax-related issues resulting from the scam. If necessary, contact local law enforcement to report the incident.

We're All About Safety

Recognizing and avoiding tax scams is essential in protecting seniors from financial predators. By staying informed and vigilant, you can play an active role in safeguarding your personal information and financial well-being. If you suspect that you've been targeted by a tax scam, don't hesitate to take action and seek professional help. 

We may not be experts in tax fraud, but we are interested in helping you or your loved one live a safe, secure, and independent lifestyle through assistance with daily self-care tasks, light housework, transportation, and cheerful, caring companionship. If you need in-home care in Soldotna, Anchor Point, Anchorage, Homer, Kenai Peninsula, Kasilof, Kenai, Moose Pass, Ninilchik, or Seldovia, contact us at Senior Helpers of the Kenai Peninsula.