Did you hear the one about the government sending out free money to seniors who just fill out a new tax return, and pay a processing fee? Ugh! Apparently, this is the latest scheme crooks have been playing on seniors, preying on their anxieties about the Cost Of Living Adjustment (COLA) – or lack thereof. According to the IRS and a recent warning from AARP, the summer has seen a dramatic increase in filing scams. Crooks spread false information that by filing again with the IRS and using new forms you can get government money. The most widespread one claims that the government is offering money to offset the lack of the annual COLA, and that by paying a $60 processing fee to a preparer with a new form you can receive as much as $3000. There is no such program, and in fact the current debt talks are already chipping away at the COLA anew rather than seeking to pay it out. That “tax preparer” just pocketed the money as well as a document laying out all your personal and financial information. One good way to protect yourself and your loved ones from these types of scams is to check with the IRS and the AARP website for information about both legitimate programs and scam or fraud warnings.
Reference: AARP.org (July 25, 2011) “No COLA? Crooks Promise Help