Senate Special Committee on Aging Chair Susan Collins (R-Maine) accused the Justice Department Wednesday of indifference to senior financial fraud.

As evidence, she said, the department has prosecuted just three individuals participating in one of the most widespread frauds against seniors by pretending to be IRS agents.

“And these weren’t the criminal masterminds running the scams. They were low-level operatives,” said the Aging Committee Chair.

In IRS impersonation scams, fraudsters typically call would-be victims warning they owe money and will be jailed or deported if they don’t pay up. Scared, the individuals are instructed to purchase pre-paid debit cards and read the pin numbers to the fraudsters who pocket the money.

She faulted the department for not sending a witness to the Wednesday hearing on taxpayer identity theft.

The Federal Trade Commission received over 52,000 IRS imposter complaints last year.

A second kind of tax impersonation fraud has surfaced where a thief will file a tax return with someone else’s Social Security number and receives a refund electronically.

The victim doesn’t find out about this until he or she files a real return and is told by the IRS a phony return was sent in their name.

FTC Commissioner Julie Brill said seniors are particularly vulnerable to tax identity theft because they often share their Social Security numbers and other information, like bank account numbers with family members, lawyers, accountants, financial advisors and health care professionals.