News & Legislation, Uncategorized

Tax Season Results in Increased Telephone Scam Calls to Seniors

irsphonescamWith only one week remaining until this year’s tax filing deadline, the Senate Special Committee on Aging has announced that the Committee’s fraud hotline is experiencing an increased number of reports of scam artists who call seniors pretending to be IRS officials. Through this scam criminals generally demand immediate payment and threaten retaliation, such as home foreclosure and even arrest, if payment is not made.

The IRS has released several tips to help taxpayers identify suspicious calls that may be part of a scam:

  • The IRS will never call a taxpayer to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed a bill.
  • The IRS will never demand that a taxpayer pay taxes without giving him or her the opportunity to question or appeal the amount claimed to be owed.
  • The IRS will never ask for a credit or debit card number over the phone.
  • The IRS will never threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have a taxpayer arrested for not paying.
  • The IRS will never require a taxpayer to use a specific payment method for taxes, such as a prepaid debit card

If you are concerned that you, or a loved one, has been a victim of such a call or other related contact, please report the incident to the Aging Committee’s toll-free Senior Fraud Hotline: 1-855-303-9470. These reports enable the Committee to investigate and help put a stop to scams targeted to seniors.

In addition to calling the Aging Committee Fraud Hotline, seniors can report potential instances of scams or fraud to the local division (Detroit) of the FBI or the Michigan Attorney General’s Office.

News & Legislation, Useful Tips

Scam Involving Property Deeds

scam-300x169For the past several months, we have received several phone calls from frantic clients who have received an official-looking letter from a company called “Property Transfer Services” which contained language that indicated that some transfer of their property had taken place. The letter is not a bill – far from it, actually. It is a scam. These types of solicitations crop up every few years and often scare people into sending money to get copies of their deeds, which they can get for a nominal fee from their local county registrar.

The letter reads something similar to, “Property Transfer Services recommends that all Michigan homeowners obtain a copy of their current Deed.” The cost for the service, according to the letter, is $83.00, and the letter gives a due date.

In an attempt to get the word out to seniors in our community, please let loved ones know that they should not respond and definitely should not send payment.

As you may know, you can get information about your home or other real estate through your local county register of deeds. Most deeds are available online either for free or a nominal cost of $1.00 per page.