Lawyers are sounding the alarm because of the mass proliferation of online fraud, which targets vulnerable population group — the elderly. Lawmakers and administration officials are eager to take additional steps to protect unsuspecting Americans. This writes The Hill.
Experts say that during tax season the threat has increased since filing online is becoming more popular, opening the door to new fraud above, aimed at obtaining confidential information or money from victims.
“Consumers need to be especially vigilant, as we approach tax season,” said bill Versen, Director of product provider of data transmission services Transaction Network Services.
Despite the fact that in the season of tax returns is a lot of fraud offences affecting all ages of Americans, experts say that older people are at higher risk.
According to Monique Recenti specialist products in the cyber security firm SiteLock, the most common types of tax fraud are phishing and phone calls, during which a crook posing as IRS officer.
Phishing is a tactic used by hackers to gain access to personal information through fake emails, text messages and social media posts.
These messages are intended to uninformed users, often elderly, have disclosed your personal information or clicked on the links that can download malicious programs on computers and phones.
But the most common Scam in the period between 2014 and 2018 was IRS fraudulent calls, according to the annual report published by the Senate Committee on aging.
During this call, the crook posing as IRS officials demanding payment or private information. It is known that in some cases, the scammers threaten to suspend licenses, to close the company or even to arrest individuals if they can’t pay the bills (actually, fake).
According to the IRS, such activity increases at the beginning of the season of tax filing. The Agency in recent years has taken more steps to warn the public.
“The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messaging or social media to request personal or financial information,” reads the Agency’s report on the official website.
The provider of data transmission services Transaction Network Services (TNS) said that this tactic also gaining momentum at the end of the season of tax filing. For example, the Tax day of 2018 has the highest number of robotic calls for the entire year.
The administration of the tramp tracked online fraud and spoke in detail about the impact they have had.
According to the Federal trade Commission (FTC), in 2014, Americans reported about 7700 frauds the IRS, whether it calls or false reports — with a total loss of $ 2.2 million.
According to the Agency, the typical victim loses an average of $1000 in these fraudulent schemes. This includes money lost through fraud, theft or tax returns using personal information to obtain new credit.
Although relatively few fraud focuses specifically on older people, experts say that most criminals are expanding the age range when looking for potential victims — that the elderly are at higher risk of becoming victims of these schemes.
FTC data show that people aged 70 years and older reported much higher losses from such crimes than any other age group.
“Scammers targeting elderly people, because these people can be lonely, willing to listen and more trusting than young people,” according to the Association of certified fraud experts.
Lawmakers also took note of these facts, calling on the Agency to provide more data to inform the public and promoting legislation to combat tax fraud involving the elderly.
In 2019 in the house of representatives of the Parliament adopted the Law on security, most of which, however, was focused on robotic calls. In December last year, President trump has signed a Law on criminal enforcement and deterrence of robotic phone calls (TRACED).
A law passed by Congress with broad bipartisan support, aimed at reducing all types of robotic calls, including from people posing as representatives of state institutions.
Social media platforms have also taken steps to address this problem. In September, 2019 to Twitter was banned, the posts intended to deceive the members and to obtain money through phishing or other deceptive tactics.
In the end, all stakeholders stated that informing people about the risks of tax fraud may be the most effective way to prevent them.