WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today warned consumers about a sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, throughout the country.
Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.
“This scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country. We want to educate taxpayers so they can help protect themselves. Rest assured, we do not and will not ask for credit card numbers over the phone, nor request a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer,” says IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel. “If someone unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS and threatens police arrest, deportation or license revocation if you don’t pay immediately, that is a sign that it really isn’t the IRS calling.” Werfel noted that the first IRS contact with taxpayers on a tax issue is likely to occur via mail
Other characteristics of this scam include:
- Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
- Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number.
- Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling.
- Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
- Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
- After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do:
- If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue – if there really is such an issue.
- If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administrationat 800-366-4484.
- If you’ve been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.
Taxpayers should be aware that there are other unrelated scams (such as a lottery sweepstakes) and solicitations (such as debt relief) that fraudulently claim to be from the IRS.
The IRS encourages taxpayers to be vigilant against phone and email scams that use the IRS as a lure. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. The IRS also does not ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts. Recipients should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in the message. Instead, forward the e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on how to report phishing scams involving the IRS is available on the genuine IRS website, IRS.gov.
You can reblog the IRS tax scam alert via Tumblr.
When asked about their lives, 98% of 100 people at age 100 said
staying mentally active was a secret to healthy aging, along with staying mobile
and +exercising (96%). More than half walk every week. The centenarians also
reported eating nutritiously balanced meals regularly (86%), getting more than
eight hours of sleep each night (66%), and attending a social event every day (37%).
A questionnaire was completed by 71,706 women and men, ages 45-83
years, who reported how many servings of fruits and vegetables they ate every
day. After 13 years, people who never ate fruits and vegetables had a 53% higher
mortality rate compared to those who ate five servings a day, with lives
shortened by an average of three years. People who ate three servings a day of
vegetables lived 32 months longer than individuals who ate no vegetables;
participants who ate no fruit died 19 months sooner than those who ate one piece
of fruit a day.
SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in press,
doi:10.3945/?ajcn.112.056119 (June 26, 2013)
In Australia, the Watermemories Swimming Club
was formed to provide a safe and fun exercise program for people with dementia. Ten people with moderate to severe dementia living in two care facilities engaged in water exercises for strength, balance, agility and flexibility over 12 weeks. Evaluations were performed by a registered nurse. Scores showed that participation in the intervention reduced behavior problems and improved psychological well-being.
SOURCE: Australasian Journal on Ageing, early view, doi:10.1111/ajag.12076 (July 3, 2013)
For the abstract, click here
Alzheimer's disease causes millions of Americans
to lose their ability to recognize familiar places and faces. Six in ten people
with Alzheimer's disease will wander. They may become disoriented and lost,
even in their own neighborhoods. Although common, wandering behavior can be
dangerous; if not found within 24 hours, up to half of those who wander risk
serious injury or death.
Wandering is among the biggest challenges
caregivers face. Following are tips from
the Alzheimer’s Association to help you prepare for or
prevent wandering behavior in loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or a related
Who's at risk to wander? Anyone who:
Returns from a regular walk or drive later than
Tries to fulfill former obligations, such as
going to work.
Tries to “go home” even when at home.
Is restless, paces or makes repetitive movements.
Has difficulty locating familiar places like the
bathroom, bedroom or dining room.
Checks the whereabouts of familiar people.
Acts as if doing a hobby or chore, but nothing
gets done (e.g. moves around pots and dirt without planting anything).
Feels lost in a new or changed environment.
Be aware of who is at risk for wandering.
Identify the most likely times of day that
wandering may occur; plan activities at that time.
Provide opportunities for activities and
When night wandering is a problem, make sure the
person has restricted fluids two hours before bedtime and has gone to the
bathroom just before bed. Limit daytime naps, if possible.
Monitor reaction to medications. Consult a
physician, if necessary.
Use communication focused on validating feelings
(not correcting) when the individual says that he or she wants to leave to go
home or to work.
wandering is in progress, use distraction to re-direct the individual's focus.
couldn’t make medical decisions for yourself, is there someone who knows what
you would want and what you wouldn’t want?
Do you have written directions (a living will) that explain the kind of
care you want? Have you appointed a
medical power of attorney to carry out your wishes? If you have, please make sure your doctor and
any hospital you are admitted to have a copy.
If not, you can get more information about advance directives (medical
power of attorney, living will, healthcare surrogate, POST form and more) at
the following website, http://www.wvendoflife.org,
or by calling 1-877-209-8086.
Even people in very good health should have written advance
directives. These written directions do not take effect until you are medically
unable to make decisions for yourself.
You make your own decisions until the point that you are unable to do
so. Then the person you appoint makes
decisions for you based on your preferences and what you’ve stated in your
medical power of attorney.
If you would like to get more information or would like to apply for either Medicaid or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program SNAP (food stamps), call Deb to make an appointment.
Nothing is more important than providing food when people
find themselves suddenly, and often critically, in need following a storm,
earthquake, flood or other disaster emergency. USDA makes sure that people have
enough to eat.
The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) coordinates with
State, local and voluntary organizations to:
Provide food for shelters and other mass feeding sites.
Distribute food packages directly to households in need
in limited situations.
Issue emergency SNAP
As part of the National Response Framework, FNS supplies
food to disaster relief organizations such as the Red Cross and the Salvation
Army for mass feeding or household distribution. State agencies notify USDA of
the types and quantities of food that relief organizations need for emergency
feeding operations. FNS also authorizes States to operate a Disaster
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP).
Infomation on D-SNAP
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced that the
Affordable Care Act helped 119,437 people
in West Virginia with original Medicare
receive at least one preventive service at no cost to them during the first
five months of 2012. This includes 3,594 who
have taken advantage of the Annual Wellness Visit provided by the Affordable
14,297,266 people in Medicare received at least one free preventive service
during the first five months of this year.
This includes 1,100,592 people who benefited from the Annual Wellness
Visit. In 2011, 32.5 million people in
Medicare received one or more preventive benefits free of charge.
to the health care law, millions of Americans are getting cancer screenings,
mammograms and other preventive services for free,” said CMS Acting
Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “These
free preventive services are helping people in Medicare stay healthy and lower
their health care costs.”
of the major goals of the Affordable Care Act is to help people stay healthy by
giving them the tools they need to take charge of their own health and prevent
health problems before they happen.
to 2011, people with Medicare faced cost-sharing for many preventive benefits such
as cancer screenings. Under the
Affordable Care Act, preventive benefits are offered free of charge to
beneficiaries, with no deductible or co-pay, so that cost is no longer a
barrier for seniors who want to stay healthy and treat problems early. The law
also added an important new service for people with Medicare — an Annual
Wellness Visit with the doctor of their choice— at no cost to beneficiaries.
more information on Medicare-covered preventive services, please visit:
learn what screenings, vaccinations and other preventive services doctors
recommend for you and those you care about, please visit the myhealthfinder
tool at www.healthfinder.gov.
People with Medicare are already saving money on durable medical equipment (DME) through the Medicare competitive bidding program, according to a report released today by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
According to the report, the program saved $202 million in its first year in nine metropolitan statistical areas – a reduction of 42 percent in costs and, as the program expands under the Affordable Care Act and earlier law, it could save up to $42.8 billion for taxpayers and beneficiaries over the next 10 years.
“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we can expand this successful example of health care reform to include more areas and achieve savings on a national level over the next few years. People with Medicare across the country will get the medical equipment they need to live their lives, while saving them and other taxpayers money in the process,” Secretary Sebelius said. “The law is already saving those with Medicare hundreds of dollars on their health care needs-- from medical equipment to prescription drugs—and they will continue to save in the years to come.”
The report also released results that show, after extensive monitoring by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), there have been no negative effects on the health of people on Medicare or their access to needed supplies and services.
“Seniors, and people with disabilities on Medicare, are saving money thanks to our successful competitive bidding program," said CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. "By expanding this successful program, we will save tens of billions of dollars for beneficiaries and taxpayers over the next 10 years."
Key information in the report:
•Seniors, and people with disabilities in Medicare, will directly save a projected $17.1 billion due to lower co-insurance for durable medical equipment and lower premiums for Medicare over the next decade, while taxpayers are projected to save an additional $25.7 billion through the Medicare Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund because of reduced prices.
•In the first year of implementation in nine metropolitan statistical areas, through a combination of lower prices and fewer unnecessary services, the competitive bidding program saved Medicare $202 million.
•Medicare beneficiaries in the nine areas had substantial reductions in their co-insurance for DME.
•Last year alone, people with Medicare saved up to $105 on hospital beds, $168 on oxygen concentrators, and $140 on diabetic test strips.
•A real-time claims monitoring system, set up to ensure that access to supplies was not compromised, has found that people on Medicare continue to have access to all necessary and appropriate items.
The Affordable Care Act expands Round 2 of the DME competitive bidding program from 70 to 91 metropolitan statistical areas across the country. CMS is evaluating bids from suppliers for the 91 areas. By 2016, all areas of the country will benefit from either the competitive bidding program or lower rates based on the competitively bid rates.
View the full report here: http://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-Fee-for-Service-Payment/DMEPOSCompetitiveBid/index.html