Senior Scams Exposing the Most Common
57% of Fraud Victims in the United States are Over the Age of 50
Every time you turn on the news, you hear about another scam artist, stealing money from honest, hard-working people. You might see these stories, and think to yourself, “I’d never let that happen to me”. The truth is, though, that these scams may be so convincing that you don’t even realize what is happening until it’s already over. Seniors must be espeically careful, as they are a target of particular interest to many scam artists. It’s vital that you be aware of senior-specific scams, to protect yourself from becoming an item on the news. Here are some common scams targeting seniors:
The Most Common Senior Scams:
- Telemarketing - Perhaps the most common senior scam, this one involves a person posing as a telemarketer, calling a senior to offer them a product or service. They will then collect the person’s financial information (credit card numbers, bank account numbers, etc.) and promptly hang up the phone, able to access the victim’s financials.
- Grandchildren Need Money - This scam preys on a senior’s trusting nature, and devotion to family. A con artist will call a senior’s home, and ask “Hi Grandma/grandpa, do you know who this is?” The confused senior will then typically put a name to the person, thinking they sound like a relative, and suddenly, the con artist has an identity handed to them. They then say they are in trouble financially, and need some money wired over to them.
- Medicare - Much like telemarketing scams, this one involves a person impersonating an authority figure. In this case, it’s a representative of Medicare. They call the senior, asking for information so that they can add it to their records. A variation on this scam is to ask for information, so that a refund can be issued to the senior to cover the gap in a recent prescription medication purchase.
- Counterfeit Prescription Drugs - This is a particularly dangerous scheme because it can be hazardous to a person’s health. You receive a call where the person claims to be selling a prescription drug for cheap. You might even get the drug after giving your information. Odds are, though, that the drug you receive is a knock off product that is drastically different from the medication you need or were trying to buy. This can lead to serious and even fatal consequences to a senior’s health.
- Lottery or Sweepstakes – Everyone wants free money. In this scam, the culprit calls a senior, claiming that they have won a sweepstakes. They often send a check for the senior to deposit into their bank; while it seems legitimate, it’s typically a fake check that will be bounced a few days after deposit. This gives the scammers enough time to collect “taxes or fees” on the sweepstakes winnings, while leaving the senior to pay for the bounced check fees on top of the fees they already paid.
These senior scams are terrible, but they can be easily prevented. Be cautious when speaking with someone you don’t know on the phone. You shouldn’t have to give out your financial information to anyone, and if you feel you have to (such as if you’d like to purchase something over the phone), be sure to take some time to research before buying. We hope you can use this knowledge to protect yourself, and tell others you know so that they do not fall victim to these common scams.
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