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Beware of Tax Scams Targeting Kupuna

Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono, Nov. 2015

With this year’s filing deadlines fast approaching, now is an important time to beware of tax scams.

On Saturday, Senator Mazie Hirono, along with spokespeople from the IRS and AARP, spoke at a caregiving conference at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii to warn seniors about tax scams, and phone scams in particular.

“Well, we know trusting vulnerable seniors are particular targets for scam artists… Scam artists and predators are clever in their attempts to swindle taxpayers out of their refunds. Kupuna and their families need to remain vigilant and protect themselves as we approach the tax filing deadline,” said Sen. Hirono.

If there are any issues with your taxes, she explained, you should expect first to receive a letter or in-person visit from the IRS. If you do get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, hang up even if it looks like an IRS number on your caller ID—the numbers can be spoofed.

Here are two helpful online resources:

IRS Special Agent in Charge Teri Alexander called tax scams “epidemic in proportion right now… increasing every day.” The AARP Hawaii’s state director said that over “6,000 seniors have reported being defrauded and the average amount of loss is about $2,555.”

Photo c/o Edward Kimmel, “Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono”, (c) CC BY-SA 2.0