Senator Collins Unveils Comprehensive Guide to Fighting Fraud at AARP Maine in Portland

Senator Collins Reveals Top 10 Frauds Targeting Our Nation’s Seniors, Including the IRS Impersonation Scam, the #1 Reported Fraud - Seniors lose an estimated $2.9 billion to financial exploitation every year

Click HERE to read the resource guide

 

Click HERE to view tips for avoiding scams

 

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, announced the top 10 frauds targeting our nation’s seniors at a special event at AARP Maine in Portland this afternoon. 

At the event, Senator Collins unveiled and distributed a comprehensive anti-fraud resource for seniors titled, “Fighting Fraud: U.S. Senate Aging Committee Identifies Top 10 Scams Targeting Our Nation’s Seniors.”  The guide is designed to provide information on and help protect seniors from some of the most prevalent and malicious scams.  According to the Government Accountability Office, seniors lose an estimated $2.9 billion to financial exploitation every year.

“Putting a stop to these disturbing scams targeting our nation’s seniors is among my highest priorities as Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee,” said Senator Collins.  “I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that seniors and their families become aware of the scammers’ techniques and take action to protect themselves and their loved-ones from these heartless criminals.  This resource guide will help prevent seniors from becoming victims to these ruthless scams.”

Under Senator Collins’ leadership, the Aging Committee maintains a Fraud Hotline (1-855-303-9470) that is staffed by experienced fraud investigators who help link victims with the relevant authorities. The resource guide documents all of the calls the Fraud Hotline received in 2015 and categorizes the 10 most common scams.  The guide describes each of the top 10 frauds in extensive detail, includes multiple case studies to provide tangible examples of these scams, and provides advice from consumer protection agencies on ways to identify con artists’ schemes.

The most prevalent scam reported to the Fraud Hotline last year was the IRS impersonation scam, in which con artists pretend to be IRS agents and demand immediate payment of so-called “back taxes.” These scammers then threaten retaliation, such as home foreclosure and even arrest if payment of “back taxes” is not made.  These 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.  The Fraud Hotline has recorded a spike in the number of calls regarding this scam in recent weeks.  Seniors should remain vigilant about this scam, particularly during tax season, and report any IRS impersonation scam calls to the Fraud Hotline (1-855-303-9470), TIGTA (800-366-4484), and local law enforcement.

In all of these scams, criminals use countless dastardly tricks that are as malevolent as they are innovative.  Scam artists often prey on seniors’ emotions and seek to cause confusion to carry out their schemes. Raising awareness is critical to helping protect seniors from these increasingly pervasive and cruel scams.

 

The full list of the top 10 scams targeting our nation’s seniors follows:

 

1.    IRS Impersonation Scams

2.    Sweepstakes Scams

3.    Robocalls / Unwanted Phone Calls

4.    Computer Tech Support Schemes

5.    Identity Theft

6.    Grandparent Scams

7.    Elder Financial Abuse

8.    Grant Scams

9.    Romance Scams / Confidence Fraud

10.    Home Improvement Scams

 

Click HERE to read the resource guide.

 

Click HERE to view tips for avoiding scams