There are many bad people out there who make a living by defrauding others. Unfortunately, senior citizens are prime targets of fraud and scams. Senior citizens of today were raised in a more trusting environment. Naturally, they are more polite and more trusting. Civilized traits as such have become attractive to scammers who will try to exploit them for their advantage and commit fraud against seniors. Please read this information provided by the FBI.
While the government does its best to fight fraud against seniors and there are laws against taking advantage of the elderly, it would be in your best interest to detect scams before you become a victim. In this article, we will go over the types of scams targeting senior citizens, what you can do about them and how to detect suspicious approaches before it hits you. And, please do share this article on your Facebook and with other colleagues so that everybody will be aware of the various types of fraud against seniors.
Types of Scams Against Seniors
Scams can make their way into your life in many different ways. They are usually after your finances. Sometimes, they will try to steal your identity. Let us debunk some of the methods used by con artists so that you can stay alert.
COVID Scams Targeting Senior Citizens
While the world is suffering and trying to beat the pandemic, scammers are using the unfortunate pandemic to scam the elderly.
Seniors should be careful to trust anyone who sends texts or call claiming to be the representative of the IRS, Social Security Administration, or other government agencies. What these scammers will usually do is claim the benefits payment could be suspended due to office closures resulting from Coronavirus Pandemic. Then they will ask seniors to make some kind of payment to avoid any trouble getting their benefits.
Older Adults should absolutely avoid these types of frauds and notify the authorities right away.
Telemarketing Fraud Against Seniors
If you ever get a call from someone who is “excited” to inform you that you’ve won a prize or free vacation or something similar, it usually is a scam. There is no such thing called “free”! If they pressure you to act on their offers, you should stay away from them.
Even if you think it would be rude to hang up the phone, do not give them any personal information, and more importantly NEVER EVER give them your credit card details. They are masters of con jobs. They will often make you feel now or never. Do not believe in such things. Always consult with your family before taking any action. FBI has some good tips on their website to help you stay alert.
Shopping Scams Against Elders
Shopping scams against seniors are a little hard to detect. They will not try to outright rob you blind but will try to sell you a worthless product using an overhyped sales pitch technique. It can happen through telemarketing, online, or in person. Weight loss products, anti-aging creams, and paid secret dating tips, are some of the examples of products they will try to sell. Below are some of the tips on how you can protect yourself against such scams.
- Take your time to make a decision to purchase any such things.
- Consult with your family members before making any purchase.
- If it is a legit deal, chances are you have somehow heard about it before. If it is something you have never heard of before, be skeptical.
- Use Google to search the product and read the reviews of other people. If no one (or very few) is talking about it online, be skeptical.
- Do not buy anything from unknown websites. Stick to Amazon, Best Buy, Macy’s, Sears, and other well-known websites to buy online. Do not buy anything from a website that has the name of another company on its name. For example, www.discountshoesfromAdidas.com has Adidas in its name but it is not owned by the Adidas company. You should stay away from such websites.
- If there are many pop-ups on the website, you should be skeptical.
- If a website claims you are their 100,000th visitor or something similar and you’ve won something, ignore it. They will usually ask you for your email address. Do not give them your personal details.
Other Tips for Seniors to Fight Against Scams and Frauds
- Do not believe if someone claims to be an IRS agent and you owe back taxes. They will try to threaten you to prosecute if you do not act right away. Simply hang up the phone and consult with your family members. You should call law enforcement and report it.
- Do not trust the websites that claim to sell you prescription drugs for a cheap price. They are usually counterfeit prescription drugs that are bad for your health as well as your finances.
- In what is widely known as the grandparent scam, the scammer will call elderly people and make them guess who he is. Whoever the victim guessed, they will say yes you are correct. Then they might solicit money through money transfer agencies. Be careful of such scam artists!
- You might get unsolicited calls for donations usually right after disasters. Make sure they are legit and tax-exempt.
- Do not open emails from unknown sources. Even if you did, do not click on any links contained in the email if it is not from a known source.
- Keep your anti-virus up-to-date to keep your computer free of malware. Certain Malware can track your behaviors and steal your credit card information.
- Never download anything from the internet. Unless you know what you are doing, talk to your children or grandchildren for help.
More Fraud Against Senior Schemes
Please read the articles below as they contain useful information about fraud against seniors.
How To Report Fraud And Crimes Against Elderly
If you ever became a victim of fraud, scam, or crime, you should immediately report it to the authorities. Even if you prevent yourself from being a victim of fraud against seniors, you should report it. The government uses the complaints and reports to create data on common fraud patterns and can alert other seniors about it. AARP has a full list of agencies where you can and should report fraud. Please visit the AARP website to report fraud against seniors.
We are sorry that you as a Senior citizen have to do all these things to keep yourself safe but it is what it is and the world is getting more and more vicious. Please share this article with your friends so that they can be aware of the fraud against seniors as well.
Frequently Asked Questions regarding Scams Targeting Elderly
There are many questions seniors have about the scams and fraud they are facing almost every day in their lives. We will address the most common ones and answer some of the most popular questions when it comes to fraud awareness.
What to do when a senior has been scammed?
There are many things you can do if you as a senior have been scammed. The first thing to do is to report to the Federal Trade Commission by calling 877–382–4357. But we recommend older adults share the incident everywhere possible. It is good practice to report the fraud to local police, related banks, neighbors, and State and local authorities. Not only that will expose the scam technique to a wider audience, but it will also bring the scammers and scam methods into many agencies’ radar.
What is defrauding the elderly and why are seniors often targeted?
Senior Fraud and scamming is a Federal crime that is punishable by hefty fines and jail sentences. States have their own criminal laws for scammers and punishments for such acts are rather harsh.
Why do scammers usually target seniors? Seniors are less likely to report financial crimes, especially for lower amounts. Data published by FTC shows that seniors above 80 rarely report financial fraud unless the fraud amount is fairly large and upwards of $1500. Scammers thus are emboldened to take the chance to defraud those seniors for smaller amounts.
Another reason why seniors often become fraud targets is due to the fact that most of them are living their retirement life and are not always up to date with new scam techniques. That makes a scammer’s job much easier to target them with new scams.
What do you do when someone takes advantage of the elderly?
There is a good chance that you might not be elderly but someone who suspects an elderly you know is going through financial abuse or being the target of a fraud. If that is the case consider taking the following steps to protect your community member or your family member:-
- Sound an alarm directly with the older adult
- Notify everywhere possible that might be connected to the elderly. For example retirement community offices, assisted living company offices/managers, banks if you know where the elderly conduct banking, the person’s family, etc.
- Notify the local police with detailed information and it is likely that the local police officer or Sherrif might come and have a word with the elderly as a good samaritan if they cannot make a criminal case out of the situation.
Top Scams Against Older Americans in 2022.
Please watch the video below which exposes the latest scams happening in 2022. The gentleman in the video did an excellent job to expose them and has given tips how to avoid them as well as what to do about them!