According to the FBI, frauds targeting seniors cost over $3 billion each year. Scams on seniors can be devastating since they are often unable to recover financially.
Seniors Are a Target of Common Schemes
Being informed of typical scams is one of the best methods to defend oneself from con artists. Here are a few instances.
Scams Involving Love
Con artists see lonely seniors yearning for love as an ideal target for their next prey. It’s easy to see vulnerable baby boomers looking for love on social media and dating apps, in particular.
People they meet online who seek for money for medical problems, visas, or travel should be avoided by seniors. Many victims offer money to fraudsters in the name of love so that they can visit them. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), romance scams cost seniors $84 million in 2019.
Fraudulent Tech Support
Con artists benefit financially from the fact that elders are easy targets for “techie” schemes in general. Scams are often uninvited pop-up messages that appear on phone displays or PCs. Typically, the messages say that your computer or phone has been hacked and needs to be repaired. They will charge for repairs, and they may also want remote access to your computer so that they may obtain financial information.
Imitators of Medicare or Health Insurance
Scammers will approach persons in this age range, posing as Medicare officials, because any U.S. citizen over the age of 65 is eligible for Medicare benefits. Offering fraudulent services at “temporary” mobile clinics and then billing Medicare for them is a typical method of defrauding elderly.
Scams on the Phone
Criminals can use robocall technology to contact a large number of people in a short amount of time in order to discover their next victim. Seniors should be aware that phone calls about warranty expiration for their car or electrical items are frequently scams designed to trick you into paying to extend your warranty. They also want to capture your voice in order to use it as a voice signature to authorize future credit card purchases.
Ruse of the Grandparents
Seniors with big hearts and a tender place for their grandchildren are especially vulnerable to one particular scam. The elder, who is imitating a grandchild, receives a call from the con artist. The fraudster will say something along the lines of, “Hi Grandma, guess who?” when the grandmother answers the phone. The senior then responds with the first name that comes to mind, creating a fictitious identity for the scammer. The scammer then asks for money to solve an issue based on that phony love connection, often hiding their tracks by imploring the grandparent not to tell anyone because they don’t want to get in trouble with their parents.
Phishing text messages and emails are sent out in order to gather personal information that can then be used to steal money. These con artists masquerade as representatives from organizations that appear to be respectable, such as banks and credit card firms. They’ll probably ask for your social security number or login credentials, stating that they need to validate your account.
Imitators of the Government
This fraud is carried out by imposters posing as representatives from the IRS, Medicare, or the Social Security Administration and demanding money or personal information. These callers can be quite convincing because they often look to be from the government entity they claim to represent on the victim’s caller ID.
Scare tactics are used by the worst members of this group, who threaten to jail elders who refuse to pay purported taxes owed. They also threaten to discontinue receiving Social Security or Medicare benefits if they do not receive the information they require.
It’s simple to forecast some of the new frauds that will emerge based on current events and the news. Fake charities take advantage of natural catastrophes and other troubling global events to solicit funds. Sophisticated criminals go so far as to create fundraising pages on crowdsourcing sites to further legitimize themselves. Charities that request donations in the form of money transfers or gift cards are red flags to look out for.
Con Artists and Scammers: How to Avoid Them
1. Look for probable fraud activity on Google.
To see if other people have experienced the same situations, Google phone numbers or any word that describes your experience. Google has a list of common frauds.
2. Never buy anything from someone who reaches you via phone or in person out of the blue.
Insist on receiving things in writing. Never make a purchase from a company you don’t know or haven’t researched.
3. Become a member of the Do Not Call Registry.
The majority of telemarketing schemes are successfully blocked by this registry. Remember that if an unknown caller calls after you’ve registered with the Do Not Call Registry, it’s most likely a fraudster. Avoid conversing with them. Hang up if they ask whether you can hear them.
4. Never give out important information over the phone unless you dialed a reputable number first.
Always keep your banking and credit card numbers, as well as your Social Security and Medicare numbers, private. Because this is a classic scam, be wary of anyone proposing to sell you something uninvited that they claim Medicare would cover.
5. Instead of receiving a cheque in the mail, request direct deposit to receive benefit checks.
A stolen check is no longer a possibility with direct deposit.
6. Shred or lock up any documents that contain your Social Security number, Medicare number, banking information, or other sensitive personal information.
Being aware of the common scams in society is a good way to avoid being a victim. Con men are taught to take advantage of common flaws. Seniors can avoid becoming a victim and losing money by following the steps outlined above and being aware of potential scams.