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Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and Chairman of the Aging Committee, emphasized to Attorney General Loretta Lynch the importance of developing a more robust response to the IRS impersonation phone scam at an Appropriations Committee hearing this morning. During the hearing, Senator Collins showcased the Aging Committee’s comprehensive guide on the top 10 scams targeting seniors, which found that the IRS impersonation phone scam is the #1 most prevalent fraud.
“We do need a more cooperative and aggressive approach to get after these terrible con artists, who are frequently located overseas,” said Senator Collins at today’s hearing. The Vice Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), also commented that she had recently received an IRS impersonation scam phone call.
Through the IRS impersonation scam, of which there are multiple variations, con artists demand immediate payment of “back taxes” and threaten retaliation, such as home foreclosure and even arrest, if payment of “back taxes” is not made. The IRS imposter scam calls most often involve a disguised, or “spoofed,” caller ID to make the victim believe that the call is coming from the “202” area code, or Washington, D.C., where the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service are headquartered. In a newer variation of this scam, calls appear to be coming from either the “509,” “360,” and “206” area codes, which are Washington State area codes.
Senator Collins has repeatedly warned about the pervasiveness of the IRS impersonation phone scam, which is targeting our nation’s seniors. At a press conference at AARP Maine earlier this month, Senator Collins unveiled the comprehensive anti-fraud resource guide titled, “Fighting Fraud: U.S. Senate Aging Committee Identifies Top 10 Scams Targeting Our Nation’s Seniors.”
It is important to note that the IRS will always mail a bill to a taxpayer before trying to call. Seniors who receive an unexpected call from someone claiming to be from the IRS should call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484. Seniors should also report these calls to the Senate Aging Committee’s Fraud Hotline (1-855-303-9470) and local law enforcement.