Seniors are often the targets of a variety of con artists via phone, mail, and internet routes. Law enforcement agencies, the FBI, Federal Trade Commission, and the US Justice Department have all issued warnings about seniors being easy targets for scammers, particularly women over the age of 60 who live alone.
Scammers are recognizing that seniors have money but also have limited knowledge of technology and thus of current scams and see an opportunity for a potential victim.
Most scams against seniors are carried out over the phone. Some of the more common are:
Health insurance: requests for personal information, offers or requests for money.
Medical: equipment telemarketing, medicare billing calls, blank health forms requiring signatures.
Charity: telemarketers requesting financial information, claims of needed funds for an unfamiliar local charity, requests to support individuals or invest in new charities.
Home Goods and Services: Door-to-door repairman or contractors who were not requested, service/utility personnel claiming to be sent without prior notice, contracts without refund/cancellation/or other legal details, individuals looking to install equipment without prior approval, anyone who asks for money prior to work completion.
IRS and Service Providers: phone calls from “IRS” agents requesting information/money, tax/service related mail asking for signatures besides regular bills, offers/ winnings from contests/lotteries not entered, in-person visits from collection agents, bank/bank card requests for personal or financial information.
Digital: Emails claiming someone is in danger/needs ransom, emails saying “RE:” but not a reply to another email sent, emails about goods/services “purchased” which were not, pop-ups claiming ransom or software is needed to unlock computer, offers of tech support/protection software from unfamiliar companies, any requests for passwords/personal information/ money made by a company the senior has no account with, emails from known providers/companies that are not “.com” or look unprofessional, services offered by unknown entities, offers/winnings emailed or in a pop-up that the seniors didn’t sign up for.
Check back later this week for tips on how to protect seniors and help educate them on how to identify and avoid scams!!!
(Federal Trade Commission, Clearcare Online).