Seniors are a scammer's favorite target
The National Council on Aging reports seniors are increasingly targeted for financial scams. Here are the most popular schemes:
— Anti-aging products: These schemes range from selling products that don't do as claimed, to providing products that may be toxic.
— Telemarketing: Whether it's someone collecting for a fake charity or pretending to be a loved one in need, proceed with caution if anyone solicits funds over the phone.
— Internet fraud: From pop-ups warning of computer viruses to official-looking emails urging consumers to click on a link to update their information, scammers find many ways to trick you into sharing personal information.
— Investment schemes: These schemes take advantage of retirees hoping to build their savings. If it sounds too good to be true, it is!
— Homeowner, reverse mortgage scheme: Seniors have been duped by official-looking documents promising to lower their property taxes via reassessments, for a fee.
— Sweepstakes and lottery prizes: Scammers convince seniors they have won a prize and must pay a fee out of their winnings.
— The grandparent scam: Scammers pretend to be the victim's grandchild and need money wired right away to get out of a jam.
For more information, visit www.ncoa.org/. New York residents who feel they have been victimized should call the state Attorney General Office consumer helpline at 800-771-7755.
NYSUT Social Services is a confidential benefit offered to all NYSUT members. For information about elder care resources, or to speak with a caring professional, call 800-342, 9810, ext. 6206.
Don't be fooled by IRS scammers
Have you received a call from the Internal Revenue Service? Well, it's a scam — one that's been around for a few years. The scam is so lucrative, unsuspecting victims have been swindled out of more than $23 million since 2013, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
To combat the fraud, the IRS embarked on a public relations campaign last year to warn and educate taxpayers not to send money or provide personal information over the phone or through email. (Visit http://blogs.nysut.org/ for more information.)
The IRS has repeatedly warned taxpayers that the agency will not "call to demand immediate payment," but a new law may blur the lines. As part of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act signed into law in December, the IRS is now required to use private collectors to help recoup some tax debt. This could go into effect as early as next year.
What you need to know:
- Private collectors cannot accept direct payments; all payments must be made to the U.S. Treasury.
- Unless the IRS has an incorrect address, both the agency and its private collectors should first make contact via mailed letter.
- Taxpayers will be offered an installment plan for up to five years.
NYSUT audit available
NYSUT continues its practice of providing members with access to the union's certified audit for their review. The annual audit for the fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, 2015, is available and can be found online at the NYSUT Member Center, www.nysut.org/audit. Users will be prompted to log in to access. NYSUT members can request a hard copy by contacting the NYSUT Accounting Department at 518-213-6000, ext. 6252, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.