Top Phone Scams Aimed At 55 Plus



by Barbara Nevins Taylor

The New York Attorney General warns that phone scammers haven’t let up. He suggests that we need to take extra care and hang up on callers who threaten or bully. 

Scammers frequently pretend they represent the attorney general, the IRS or the police and demand that you pay money, wire it or give bank account information immediately.

“The last thing families need is to be scammed out of their hard-earned money, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said as his office issued the alert.

It’s bigger than a New York problem and every scam that we talk about here plays out in communities all across the U.S.

The IRS Scam tops the list.



Callers claim they work for the IRS, the attorney general’s office or the police. They say you owe back tax money and demand payment via a credit card, debit or pre-paid card.  If you hesitate, the caller threatens to revoke your driver’s license,  deport or arrest you unless the debt is paid.

They may even use something called “telephone spoofing” so that the “IRS” pops up on your caller ID.

Often a second person may  call to verify that the first call is from an IRS worker. They tell you to wire money to pay the debt or use the prepaid

All phony.


As part of the IRS scam, they may tell you that you will receive a big tax refund windfall. But first you must put up money via a prepaid card. If one call doesn’t get you to act immediately scammers often call again and continue to threaten and harass.  


1. Scammers use fake badge numbers and pretend to be IRS or government officials. 

2. They may be able to recite the last 4 digits of your Social Security number. 

3. The IRS does not call to threaten or demand money. 

4. State tax departments don’t call to threaten or demand money.

 5. You may hear noises in the background that make it seem as though it’s a call from an official center. 

6. The IRS sends all requests by mail, not email. 

7.  State tax departments send all request by mail, not email.  


You’re likely to get an urgent phone call. And the caller claims he’s “your favorite grandson” or just says, “It’s me.”

Then, you may use your grandson’s name and say, “Jared?”

Or, often scammers pick up names from social media and target you that way.  The pitch may vary.

But it basically goes like this: the “grandson” is out of town and needs money fast to pay for a plane ticket, to make bail, or pay for automobile repairs or medical expenses. The caller begs you not to tell his parents and asks you to wire the money immediately. 


Someone calls and claims to be a court officer. He says that you failed to appear for jury duty and now there’s a warrant  for your arrest. To avoid arrest you have to pay a fee immediately and you must wire the money.

New York City Police detectives tell ConsumerMojo that scammers urge people to pay with a prepaid Green Dot card. CONTINUE →    or go to page 1 2 3

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Barbara Nevins Taylor

As the winner of 22 Emmy Awards and a slew of journalism honors and awards, I created to give you the straight story about complicated stuff. Tell us what you want to know and we'll get you the answers.

2 thoughts on “Top Phone Scams Aimed At 55 Plus”

  1. I get calls constantly from those that want to sell me solar for my home to medications to college grants, I am a senior i tell them right off the bat that i am on the do not call list and that usually works But its very annoying they call from all different numbers locations and states. Thank God I am smart enough to not fall for there sales line. So beware take there number down and report it that may save you a lot of hardaches Just saying Pay it forward to be informed is to be wise and safe

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