Deaf and Hard of hearing

IRS Scammers Targeting the Vulnerable: Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Sometimes it’s the luck of the draw as far as who phone scammers are able to dupe, but other times, once they find that niche they know is an easy target, their sleaziness shines through as they take advantage of the vulnerabilities that help them find that next victim.

We’ve heard how they’ve victimized senior citizens and millennials, but this year the IRS has been warning the deaf and hard of hearing that they’re next on the list!

Using video relay services (VRS), a form of communication that allows people with hearing disabilities to use American Sign Language to communicate with voice telephone users, scammers are able to get through to prospective victims due to the fact that VRS interpreters do not scan all calls to confirm if they are legitimate callers.

But don’t let these phone scammers get the best of you and your loved ones. It’s time to be proactive. Here’s some tips from the IRS on how you can help yourself and your loved ones with hearing disabilities from becoming a victim of the IRS scam:

The IRS Will Never:

  • Demand immediate payment and require the payment be made a specific way, such as by prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. In most cases, the IRS will not call taxpayers about taxes owed without first having mailed a letter to the taxpayer.
  • Threaten that local police or other law-enforcement groups will immediately arrest taxpayers for not paying a tax bill.
  • Demand that taxpayers pay taxes without giving them the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

Receive a Suspicious Call? Here’s What to Do:

  • Deaf and hard of hearing taxpayers who owe taxes or think they might owe taxes should call the IRS at 800-829-1040 through VRS. IRS employees can help with a payment issue or confirm if there really is a tax issue.
  • Taxpayers who know they don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that they owe any taxes (for example, they’ve never received an IRS letter or the caller made bogus threats or demands as described above), should call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, or TIGTA, at 800-366-4484.
  • Taxpayers can file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant. If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

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