15 Scams Targeting Seniors – #5 Makes Our Blood Boil
Every day new senior scams come around, but there are still some of the old ones running around out there as well.
How have some of these scams lasted so long?
Because people fall for them and most of the time, the people that fall for the scams are seniors. People prey on seniors because they think they don’t have all of their faculties anymore and sometimes they are 100% correct.
We decided to have a refresher course on scams that have been around a while and go over some of the newer ones to hopefully keep your identity and your money safe.
1. IRS Scam
One of the oldest scams in the world is the IRS calling or emailing you and saying you owe money and if you don’t pay right now, you will go to jail.
DON’T give your information!
DON’T give your date of birth, address, bank name, account number, or ANYTHING!
Most of the time these people don’t even know your name, so don’t give that either. Tax season is the worst time for these scams. The scammer will call posing as an IRS agent saying there is something wrong with your return and more information is needed. Once you give them the information, they will use it to steal your identity and file false tax returns. Then you’re in a whirl of a mess!
2. Social Security Scam
Social Security is another one they like to use to get your social security number. They will call or email you stating your social security number has been compromised and they need to verify your information. They will also tell you your check came back to them and they need to verify your information. This is how they open new accounts and steal your identity.
3. Medicare Scam
Callers pretend to be with Medicare and need to verify your Medicare number. Once they have your number, they can steal your health benefits – this is called medical identity theft. They can also go one further and state you need a new Medicare card and they need a credit card for the minimal fee to send it out. BOOM they have your card information as well as your Medicare information.
PLEASE LISTEN!! The IRS and Social Security DO NOT call and ask for sensitive information over the phone!! I cannot stress this enough!! DO NOT give your information to anyone stating to be from the IRS or Social Security!!
4. Internet Companies
Another good one is these internet companies calling, texting, or emailing you saying you owe them money from a past account and you must pay it right now or face serious charges. DO NOT give them any information! Chances are you never had service with that company and they are hoping you can’t remember.
5. Grandparents Scam
Here’s another oldie: the grandparent scam! This is when someone calls you posing to be your grandchild and says they need money for rent or their car died. They may also use the excuse they have to have major surgery and can’t afford it. The con artists are so good; they learn everything possible about you and your family prior to calling you and pulling this scam. If you get a call like this and are skeptical, ask them a question only you and your grandchild could possibly know the answer to; if they don’t know the answer, hang up the phone.
This person will ask that you do not contact their parents because they don’t want them to know the trouble they are in. Let me advise you that this should be your first clue. If they are in that much financial trouble, chances are their parents already know.
6. Your Info is Sent to Multiple Assisted Living After Filling Out A Form
This is an old one that most people don’t know about: you’re on the internet looking for an assisted living community and BOOM! You are all of a sudden bombarded by emails and phone calls from communities all over the place! What the heck? You have just been redirected to A Place for Mom.
That’s how they roll, A Place for Mom doesn’t know the ins and outs of the communities they represent. They capture your name and contact information and send it to everyone in their database. All the communities send you their information hoping you will call them and schedule a tour. A Place for Mom has no idea what the appropriate community is for you based on your social, medical, and financial needs.
We at Assisted Living Made Simple would not place you somewhere you can’t afford nor would we place you somewhere you will not thrive. We personally escort you on tours of the communities based on your unique needs.
7. Placement Companies Making You Sign Exclusivity Documents
A new scam coming around concerning placement companies is they are trying to make you sign exclusivity documents. These documents state that you will work with them and only with them; you cannot go to another placement company. Do NOT sign one of these documents!
You are free to work with whomever you’d like; they cannot make you work with them only. Should they present such a document to you, simply tell them no thank you.
8. Purchase On Your Account
You may receive a call or text stating a purchase (these are very vague) has been placed on your account and they need you to authorize it. DON’T DO IT!! Once they have your information, you are done. They may also say you won a prize and must give them your banking info to have the money deposited.
PLEASE don’t give anyone your personal information!!
Telemarketers are great at scamming people, especially seniors. It just seems so easy to scam seniors over the phone. These people sound so sincere. They could call you selling something and you think it’s a great deal, so you buy it. Well, you just gave your credit card information to someone for nothing. But they will get a lot out of it. By the time you realize you’re not getting the item you ordered, they have racked up hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of goods on your credit card.
10. FBI or Sheriff’s Office is Calling
How about the FBI or local Sheriff’s office calling and saying you have a warrant out for your arrest and you risk going to jail if you don’t pay the fine over the phone right then? WHAT? Don’t even think about doing this! First of all, if there was a warrant out for your arrest, the police would come to your house and arrest you and then work it out at the police station, not over the phone.
11. Insurance Canceled
Scammers like to use the old, your insurance has been canceled unless you pay over the phone right now too. If your insurance, of any kind, were going to be canceled, you would have received a notice in the mail.
12. Debt Relief Scam
The debt relief scam is one that’s become very prevalent, especially since COVID. A scammer calls and says you have so much in credit card debt and says if you don’t pay it you could possibly go to jail. They will give you immediate solutions for your debt problems for a fee of $5000.00, or some ridiculous amount, paid over the phone.
Once again, you give them your credit card or banking information and that’s it, they have everything. They can take your identity and they can purchase anything they want because by the time you figure out you’ve been scammed they’ve spent a lot of your hard-earned money.
13. Sweepstakes Scam
Here’s a good one that seemed so true I almost fell for it! The sweepstakes scam: they make you think you will win big money, but you need to pay a fee to enter the drawing. I really wanted to win the sweepstakes, but was thinking, why would I spend money to win money? That’s when I realized it was a scam. I really hope you all pay attention to this blog, these scammers are so good; anyone can fall prey to their cleverness.
14. Computer Scam
Watch out for computer scammers! They will contact you stating they are with computer tech or your antivirus program and tell you your computer has serious issues or a virus. They will then ask for your data and money to fix the issue. They may also request remote access to your computer, if they gain remote access, they have access to all of the information stored on your computer and you can’t get them off until they log off.
15. Unemployment Benefits
My mother is 94 years old and here is one she just got in the mail the other day. Luckily she gives me her mail to look through. It is from the Unemployment Benefits Guide and it states that it is the Medicare document she requested (she never requested any documents). It goes on to say that they’ve been trying to reach her regarding her benefits options (she’s 94!) and she is to call immediately to enroll and BEGIN receiving her benefits (she’s 94)!
I googled the phone number on the form and it came up as Paradise Hair Studios. I called the number and a recording came on immediately and said, “at this time we don’t have a plan that suits you”. What the heck is that about?
Now, just think if she had called and they answered and she thought she needed this coverage. They could have asked her for her bank information, credit card information and who knows what else and she very well could have given it to them. But she didn’t, she gave her mail to me to check it out first.
PLEASE find someone to watch out for you! It’s okay if you don’t understand something or are confused by an email, a piece of mail, a text, or a phone call. These scammers are very, very good at what they do; don’t be ashamed or afraid to ask for help.
If you think an older adult has been a victim of financial abuse, or if you have been a victim, please call the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-272-8311 to get assistance.