Tax and other phone scams

The IRS just issued a bulletin warning about tax time phone scams. https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-be-vigilant-against-phone-scams-irs-be-vigilant-against-phone-scams-annual-dirty-dozen-list-continues

The elderly are often the targets of tax and other scams. I hear of these scams often through my clients and their families. One simple way to avoid these scams is to not answer the phone. The older generation grew up in a time when this was not a threat. Answering the phone is a habit and sometimes we feel rude if we don’t answer or hang up. However, that is what you need to do if the caller is not someone you know. Just hang up!

Another way to limit exposure to this problem is to not give out your phone number to everyone who asks for it. It is common for retail stores to ask this and for online orders but you should not give this out. Companies set up their computer systems to require a phone number and the employees are trained to ask for it. I do not give it out and find that they can still continue with the transaction. Companies also sell their customer lists with your phone number and other personal information. Do not give this personal information out. I know some people who give out a false phone number in these situations. I am not advising that but maybe it is easier than going through the process of refusing to give one out. You could also put your phone number on the do not call list although I am not sure if this will stop all the robocalls.

Talk to your parents or other older members of your family to make sure they understand the above.