Stopping Senior Scams

The Senate Special Committee on Aging invited representatives from the Internal Revenue Service, Federal Trade Commission and a Pennsylvania-based community organization to a public hearing this week to discuss efforts by law enforcement agencies to combat financial fraud and protect older Americans from being scammed.

In videotaped testimony before the committee, an 81-year-old man from Portland, Maine, described how he became the victim of an IRS impersonation scam. Philip Hatch described how he received a call from a fraudster posing as an agent of the Internal Revenue Service who told him he owed back taxes and needed to pay immediately, using iTunes gift cards, or he would be arrested. Believing that the caller was an official government employee, Mr. Hatch, a 23-year Navy veteran, complied and ultimately lost $8,000 to this scam artist.

The Senate Special Committee on Aging does not write legislation, but it can offer policy recommendations. The hearing coincided with the release of the committee’s comprehensive anti-fraud resource for seniors, Fighting Fraud: U.S. Senate Aging Committee Identifies Top 10 Scams Targeting Our Nation’s Seniors. You can also watch the hearing from the committee’s web site.