Scranton, Pa. —
Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne and Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell today
traveled to the Scranton Jewish Community Center to lead a community
discussion on steps the Wolf Administration has taken to protect older
Pennsylvanians from scams and financial exploitation. The town-hall style
event also afforded those in attendance the opportunity to ask questions and
discuss their own experiences with two cabinet secretaries working for
“There are many types of financial fraud
scams that target seniors,” said Secretary Osborne. “The Wolf Administration
is committed to providing older Pennsylvanians with the tools they need to
protect themselves from becoming the victim of financial fraud. Protection
means involvement, and in order to prevent seniors from becoming victims of
financial fraud, we must educate them on what these scams are, how they work
and where to call for help.”
Secretary Osborne shared with today’s
audience that older adults are less likely to report financial fraud. Often
they don’t realize they have been scammed or they don’t know who to report it
to. In other cases, they may be too ashamed or embarrassed to report it, in
part because they worry that their relatives or friends will think that they
no longer have the mental capacity to take care of their own financial
Secretary Hassell outlined the warning signs
of several prevalent scams, including one that involves cyber criminals
stealing client data from tax professionals and filing fraudulent tax returns
in the name of identity theft victims.
Here’s the new twist: Rather than routing
fraudulent tax refunds to a separate account, the criminals are directing the
refunds to the taxpayers’ real bank accounts through direct deposit. They are
using threatening phone calls to trick taxpayers into “returning” the
refunds, but unsuspecting victims in some cases have forwarded the money to
the criminals. The Department of Revenue has issued tips to avoid
“The department routinely hears from
taxpayers who are in a difficult situation where their identities have been
stolen,” Secretary Hassell said. “This is particularly common early in the
year when Pennsylvanians are working to file their personal income tax returns.
We want everyone to be aware that these scammers are out there, and that
there are steps that you can take to protect your personal information.”
The Department of Revenue has published tips
online to help Pennsylvanians protect their
identities and personal information.
In addition, if you are a victim of identity
theft or discover a fraudulent Pennsylvania personal income tax return was
filed using your identity, contact the Department of Revenue’s Fraud
Investigation Unit at 717-772-9297 or RA-RVPITFRAUD@pa.gov.
The unit is dedicated to assisting victims of identity theft and combating
tax refund fraud. The department also publishes tips for avoiding scams on Facebook.
The Department of Aging encourages any person who believes
that an older adult is being financially exploited to file a confidential
report with any Area
Agency on Aging. You can
also call the statewide abuse hotline at 800-490-8505.
Video and audio of the secretaries discussing tips for Pennsylvanians to
protect themselves from scams and financial exploitation will be available
for download later today in an email from the Pennsylvania Internet News
Service (PINS). Register for PINS emails through email@example.com.
Drew Wilburne, Department of Aging, 717-705-3702
Jeffrey Johnson, Department of Revenue,
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