Reader Alert: This week, I, Toni King, received a voice mail call on my personal cell phone from an 800 number robo-call claiming to be the IRS. I was told via this call that I owed money to the IRS and was going to be sued if I did not call the number left on my voice mail.  

Recently, I have been informed from various clients that are visiting the Toni Says office for their Medicare and/or Long Term Care consultation that they have also received this call either on their cell or home phone.  

So many are petrified that one wrong move and they can lose everything they have worked so hard for. Let’s discuss what you, your friends or an elderly family member should do if you receive this call. 

The Washington Post said that “victims receive a telephone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS. They are told that they will be arrested if they do not make a payment immediately and asked to wire money, using Money Gram, Walmart and other wiring services.”  Billions have been stolen from innocent, naïve Americans.

IRS will send you a letter regarding your IRS account and will not send you an email, text message or reply to anything on  social media about your personal tax information.

Below are five tell-tale warning signs to tip you off…is it or isn’t it the IRS/Social Security calling you? 

Call you to demand immediate payment. IRS or Social Security will not call about taxes you owe without first mailing you a bill.

Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the chance to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

Require you to use a certain payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card or money gram.

Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying.

What should you do if you receive a call that you are not completely confident whether it was the IRS?

• Immediately hang up and dial your local BBB Senior Fraud hotline or National hotline @ Senior Fraud Hotline – 804-780-2222.

• Call the Senate Aging Committee Fraud Hotline at 1/855-303-9470 if you receive a call from IRS, Social Security or Medicare when you have not called them first to ask them a question or left a message to call you back. 

• Call the IRS at 1/800-829-1040 and discuss your IRS account.  Ask if they have called you.

• Report to the local law authorities that you have received a phone call which is a scam. Recently, Treasury agents caught five fraudsters in Florida who had defrauded over $2 million from more than 1500 distraught Americans.

Scams against Baby Boomers, seniors and retirees are growing, with financial fraud exploding to over $3 billion being scammed yearly.

What is the best response if you receive a fraudulent phone call? Hang up on them!  

Remember, you told your kids not to talk to strangers. Well, when you grow older, you need to do exactly what you told your kids and grandkids. Do not talk to strangers!

Toni King is the author of the 2018 Medicare Survival Guide Advanced edition, available at the tonisays.com

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