You may have gotten that “IRS” call threatening that if you don’t pay a certain amount of money for some bogus tax owed you will be arrested, deported or have your license revoked. And if you’re a senior, you’ve more than likely gotten such a call.
I hope you hung up.
To address this and other types of fraud among our senior population, I recently introduced the Williamson County Senior Fraud Prevention Program.
At our first event in June at the Court at Round Rock, an independent and assisted living facility, we invited local organizations that sponsor programs to identify and end this fraud, as well as provide other resources for golden agers in Williamson County and throughout Central Texas.
The 2015 True Link Report on Elder Financial Abuse estimated that scams and identity theft cost American seniors a total of $36.5 billion per year, and this number continues to rise. If a senior is not on social media or email, fraudsters will find other means to steal from them through a landline, cellphone or other means.
Precinct 1 Constable Vinnie Cherrone advised residents to hang up on any callers asking for money or making threats if they refuse to give their financial information. He also recommended everyone to lock their social security cards in a safe place and not carry them around in wallets or purses.
Information on a social security card easily allows a criminal to steal a person’s identity. The federal government is even sending out new Medicare ID cards minus social security numbers. If you qualify, yours may be in the mail now.
The National Council on Aging warns that financial scams targeting seniors have become so prevalent that they’re now considered “the crime of the 21st century” because many believe seniors have significant amounts of money in their accounts. But this doesn’t mean low-income seniors don’t have to worry.