I almost was but I was smarter than they were.  I heard about their tricks and knew what to do.

A few mornings ago, my phone rang.  I answered the call and heard an urgent female voice telling me that I.R.S. was about to seize my money and there were things I needed to do right away.  Her voice was so urgent it was scary.  No one wants to be in that predicament and I am sure most people fear any mention of I.R.S.  The purpose of this call is for you to listen to instructions to contact the caller and reveal certain financial information such as bank account numbers, social security numbers or other personal information, thus enabling them to withdraw money from your bank account or to charge against your bank credit accounts.  They prey on seniors knowing that many of us are afraid to admit to anyone that this has happened to them.   Their usual method of operation is to tell you the cost of protecting you is several thousand dollars.  You think, “oh know, I don’t have that kind of money” or the amount they are demanding is so large that it will seriously affect your life savings and that which you hope to leave to your children. Then they will tell you that because you are a senior and they realize you don’t have much money, they can reduce the fees to a specified amount.  You quickly agree to their terms.  The next thing you know, your bank account has been debited to at best, the fee agreed to and at worse, completely cleaned out.  You also find out the claim about I.R.S. was untrue, there was no threat of seizure of your assets, and there is no way to contact the scammers.  And you are scared to death that your family will find out about this and decide that you are no longer able to control your finances and will take steps to take over control of your money.

The best way to handle a situation like this is not to talk to themHANG UP ON THIS CALL IMMEDIATELY.  Do not listen to them or say anything.  Just hang up.

My experience has been that I.R.S. agents do not call you.  If there is a question about your tax return, they usually send out a letter requesting more information, such as copies of receipts for the deduction you claim.  You will need to send photocopies of only the receipts requested along with a copy of their letter or a cover letter mentioning their request along with your name, address and social security number.  If those receipts match the deduction you took, you probably will hear nothing more.  If they determine there is an error, they will either bill you for the underpayment or send you a refund for the overpayment.   If they have further questions regarding your return, they will contact you again by mail.

Also, many times scammers try to get you to invest in a project or to send them money for other reasons.  They also try to encourage you to take cash out of your bank account for various reasons including “investigating a bank employee” or other excuses.  Do not listen to any of these suggestions. Remember, if you want to invest your money, consider several things.  First, know who you are giving the money to, know the purpose of lending or giving the money, know that the person or organization is financially responsible and able to put the money to good use and know that you will be repaid, when you will be repaid, and the amount of interest to be paid.  Do not fall for any “get rich quick” schemes.  They very rarely pay off.

As always, we are here to help.  At this time of year you may be facing the task of organizing your affairs to get ready for filing your income tax return.  Your tax preparer will need all your income statements as well as receipts for contributions and expenses.  If you haven’t kept up to date files, you may be looking at stacks of paperwork which you have no idea what to do with.  Call us.  We will be more than happy to help you.

To those who are caring for family members, please be sure your seniors and those you are responsible for are able to maintain their financial records.  This also might be a good time to think about what other help they could use.  You might want to have a family conference to discuss the physical, emotional and mental state of your parents and other family members.  It is ideal to leave them in their homes as long as possible with the help of someone to check on them a couple of times a week and do household chores.  Or they might be getting to where the doctor feels they need some additional help such as physical therapy.  Remember, as a licensed care agency, we can provide many services at a reasonable cost.

If you have any questions regarding our service or the way we can help you, please call us at (716) 648-2273.  We look forward to your call.  Our aim is to be the best in Western New York.  We strive for that and are proud of the service we provide