“IRS” Tax Scam…

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Widows beware of …….the “IRS”

Last Thursday I was out working on the fence so we could be sure our two newborn calves were safe and secure in the pasture. Then I saw out the corner of my eye mom’s Visiting Angels ® caregiver rather frantically waving to me to come to mom’s apartment. So I finished what I was doing ASAP and went in to her place.

I found mom (my 93 year old mother-in-law) on the phone in a rather intense conversation. This is the same mother-in-law who has been the subject of several “All About” columns over the last eight years. A couple of the more memorable ones were “A 90 MPH Motorcycle Ride for her 90th Birthday” and “The Super Senior Sunday Surfin girl”.

Back to her phone conversation. I listened long enough to see her getting quite agitated then trying to write some figures on a piece of paper: $5,671.19 if I remember correctly. She finally got so frustrated she handed the phone to me.

The “IRS Agent” on the line explained that mom was the subject of a random audit for her 2010-2014 taxes and that as a result of the audit she owed quite a substantial sum. He said they rarely call but in mom’s case they were frustrated because they had sent two certified letters that were returned to the IRS unopened and unanswered.

With this the agent began to get quite ugly and threatened to close down her bank account if she didn’t agree to pay the above mentioned sum to settle the matter immediately.

I’m sure that as you read this many of you are saying “You dummy, why didn’t you just hang up?” Because these guys are pros; they do this every day of the week and have a ready answer to any objection you raise. They are as shrewd as they are unscrupulous.

Finally, I realized they were scammers and hung up and promptly called the Sheriff to report the scam and hopefully have him trace the phone call. The deputy was very professional but not very encouraging about tracing the call. He said most of these guys use untraceable numbers and make their calls from out of the country. But he did confirm that several seniors had received similar calls and some had fallen prey.

In fact, as we gathered for lunch, mom’s caregiver confirmed that her ex mother-in-law had lost over $5000 to similar scammers as did the widowed mother of a mutual friend; I personally confirmed this by phone last night. Mom was really shaken by their jail threat and wasn’t herself for the rest of the day. I told her that if anyone was going to jail it was the scammers.

Finally, Thursday night my wife helped her with her eye drops, tucked her into bed and kissed her good night. It was a long, hard, high blood pressure day.

Friday morning mom was late coming over for breakfast; she’s usually the first one up after I make the coffee. So my wife went to check on her and found her mom had died of a stroke right next to her bed,….. just a couple weeks shy of her 93rd birthday. Do you think the scammer’s call and stroke were just a coincidence? I don’t! After all, just a couple days ago she was enjoying picking pears with us in the orchard. I think there are some unscrupulous scammers out there with blood on their phone as well as their hands.

We are making the final arrangements for her funeral on Tuesday as I write this paragraph. She wasn’t at breakfast this morning……we miss her already!

So widows beware! You seem to be the favorite prey of these scum-of-the-earth scammers. DON’T EVER fall prey to giving a caller or visitor money or access to information where they can draw money from one of your accounts. Hang up and dial 911.

Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!

Bill Milby, CSA, is a Certified Senior Advisor and a Director of Visiting Angels® of Macon, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments out this column you can reach him at william.mercylink@gmail.com

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