Posted on Nov 5, 2020 in Senior Tips
Almost 1 in 5 American seniors has been taken advantage of financially according to a recent study.
Whether a senior scam is delivered by email or text, by postal mail or face-to-face, the characteristics are always broadly similar.
There’s always a hook to pique your interest. This could be news of a supposed lottery win, a report of a loved one in serious trouble, or an offer of huge discounts. The scammer will initially seem super-friendly and trustworthy with your interests at heart. Any scam always comes with a deadline, too. You’ll be told that if you don’t act right now it will be too late.
So, any time your interest is engaged by someone asking you to do something in a hurry, you should automatically be on guard. Ask yourself what’s in it for them, not just what’s in it for you. Anything appearing too good to be true should always be approached with extreme caution.
If you need any further encouragement as to why you should familiarize yourself with these senior scams, high scam awareness can help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s.
The classic grandparent scam involves a caller claiming to be your grandson or granddaughter. Like many scams, this one plays on your emotions in an attempt to part you from your money.
The caller will typically be out of time and in need of money on the spot for an emergency. They usually say they don’t want the rest of the family to know.
If you receive a call like this, hang up immediately. Contact your family, and discuss whether or not to call the police.
Every U.S. senior or permanent resident in the U.S. aged 65+ qualifies for Medicare.
Many scammers pose as a representative of the company and request personal information, exposing you to the risk of identity theft. The Medicare scammer uses a free offer, normally medical devices, as the hook. They’ll ask you to provide your personal information along with your credit card details to cover shipping and fees.
A variation on this scam sees the caller claiming to represent a private health insurance company.
Any time someone presents you with a scenario like this, it should raise an immediate red flag.
The FBI offers some detailed guidance for seniors about funeral and cemetery fraud.
Many scammers read the obituary columns then call claiming that the deceased had an outstanding debt. They will offer to discharge this debt on the spot without further action if you make a payment on the spot.
You should also be on guard against any excessive or inflated charges for funeral services. Disreputable funeral homes take advantage of the fact most people are not intimately aware of how much funeral services cost. Throw grief into the equation and it’s commonplace for dishonorable operators to load the bill.
As the global pandemic continues to unfold, you should be acutely cautious the moment any call or message you receive mentions COVID-19.
Some scammers promise home-testing kits then request your Medicare ID.
Others offer bogus services like comprehensive in-home cleaning that won’t do anything to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.
In all cases, scammers are preying on the fear of seniors vulnerable to coronavirus. Just hang up and don’t engage with this type of scammer at all.
Telemarketing scams targeting seniors are commonplace.
Since there’s no face-to-face contact, and there’s no paper trail either, it’s practically impossible to follow up on these scams.
With the pigeon drop, the scammer will tell you they have come across a large sum of money they will split with you on the condition you make a good faith payment. The scam frequently features a second intermediary acting as a lawyer, banker, or facilitator.
In the fake accident ploy, money is requested to pay for urgent medical treatment for one of your relatives.
Any number of fake charities are used to solicit money, usually in the wake of a natural disaster
The IRS con is the most prevalent type of financial scam over the phone. The IRS will never call citizens, though. Any communication will always come through the mail. Disconnect if anyone calls purporting to represent the IRS.
If anyone calls requesting remote access to your computer for any reason, never even consider allowing this.
No legitimate company would contact you with a software update or technical issue that demands remote access.
Don’t allow anyone to remotely access your computer any more than you would allow a stranger into your home. You could end up with your personal and financial information compromised.
If you think you’ve been the victim of a senior scam, you should never be embarrassed, and you should never be afraid to discuss it. When you’ve been scammed, inaction could make things worse.
Contact the police and the bank (if money was requested during the scam) and let your family know what’s happened.
When the time comes that you feel vulnerable living alone and you’d like assistance with daily living without losing your independence, we’re here for you at Landmark Senior Living. Get in touch any time and we’ll be delighted to arrange a virtual tour of a senior living community near you.