Learn to spot the scams that are targeting the elderly and how to stop them!
There are so many scams out there targeting the elderly, why, you ask?
Because people think the elderly don’t know any better and are easy targets.
As advocates for the elderly, let’s fix that myth right now.
First, let’s look at the most common scams out there:
1. Medicare and social security are the top two scams right now.
The most important thing for you to know is that Medicare and social security do not call you and ask for sensitive information!!!
These scammers will pose as representatives and ask for your social security number, date of birth, Medicare number, etc. Once they have your pertinent information, they have everything!!
Do NOT fall for this scam!!
SOLUTION: If you are unsure about a caller, ask their name and call back number, then call the company they claim to represent and check it out. If they won’t give you their information, BOOM, you have them right there!!
2. Calls acting like Grandchildren
Scammers are becoming more innovative every day, especially since COVID. People have been out of work and have a lot of time on their hands to devise ways to get you to give them your money. Some have even sunk so low as to pretend to be a grandchild of yours and act as if they are in trouble so you will send them money.
This is a very sneaky scam and really plays on the elderly person’s emotions.
- The caller asks if they know who’s calling and when you say the name of one of your grandchildren, they pretend to be them
- They tell you they are in financial trouble and need cash fast.
- They ask you to send it to Western Union and not mention it to anyone.
SOLUTION: If you receive a call like this, ask questions only you and your grandchild would know the answers to.
Not yes or no questions, something like where did we go on your 8th birthday? If the caller doesn’t know the answer, they’re not your grandchild.
3. Clicking on links within Email
Here’s one that happens every day to everyone: the INTERNET!!!!
Do NOT click on any links or emails that ask you for your banking information or any other sensitive data!!! You can’t undo the damage once they have your financial info.
Remember, all these people want is your money!! You worked hard for your money, DON’T let them have it!!
Sometimes they’ll call and tell you you won the lottery, but you need to send them so much money to claim the prize. Don’t send them money!! If you won the lottery, it wouldn’t cost you anything until tax time. They’ll say, you just won the lottery, please send $5,000,000.00 euro to . . . and we will send your winnings right away. Don’t do it!!!
Here’s one email I receive all the time,
dear friend, you have just won the European lottery, reply with your bank account information so we can deposit the money into your account.
Nope! Don’t think so!! Don’t YOU do it either.
Past Due Debt From Deceased Loved One
Here’s another scam where they don’t target you, but your family members.
If you or your spouse passed away, scammers will use the obituary to find out details about the deceased person.
They then contact family members stating they had a past-due debt that needs to be paid immediately. These people know the family members are in a vulnerable state and are most likely to go ahead and pay the debt.
Funeral directors can be shady also, they can try to sell you services you don’t need. Some have tried to sell caskets to people whose loved ones are being cremated.
SOLUTION: Don’t pay it unless you have contacted the company and get it in writing as to what they owe.
Tax fraud is another scam, people pose as IRS representatives and claim you owe back taxes. Sometimes they say you will go to jail if the debt isn’t paid immediately. These are normally done via email as well.
SOLUTION: The IRS sends letters on IRS letterhead, when replying, ALWAYS send it certified and do NOT send cash. Make sure you keep records of everything you send the IRS.
The website, https://www.usa.gov/stop-scams-frauds, has a list of numbers where you can report any kind of fraud. Utilize it if you think you are a victim of fraud!!
These people are really good at what they do, but you don’t have to be a victim. If you don’t feel right about it, it’s probably not right!
Ask questions! Knowledge is power!!