Seniors aren’t the only targets for scams, today’s major growth industry. However, older adults are one of the first targets. Therefore, it’s important to stay ahead of scammers by knowing senior fraud tactics and being aware of potential schemes.
1. Telemarketing. Phones, internet and mail are all vehicles used by scammers in an attempt to obtain passwords, account numbers and other confidential information by posing as a reputable bank or other company known to the senior. Always confirm the agent and never give confidential information over the phone without proper verification — especially if you didn’t originate the communication.
2. Sweepstakes. A senior is told they have won a major sweepstakes or contest. They even receive a very official-looking check and take it to the bank for deposit and the check’s accepted because its valid routing number. The “sweepstakes winner” sends in the required “processing” fee. However, about two weeks later the prize check bounces because the account number was fake and the victim is out the processing fee.
3. Health Care Fraud. Scammers obtain the victims medical card information and use the card to purchase medical supplies or seek treatment of other individuals. Sometimes, the scammers pose medical supply distributors and promise low-cost medical supplies in exchange for the victim’s medical card data.
4. Fake Charities. Groups not authorized to collect for well-known charities will collect money from generous supporters of those organizations. However, the intended recipients never receive the funds.
5. Identity Theft. By asking for the last four digits of a social security card and obtaining a home address, last place of employment and phone number — a scammer can open a line of credit at a nearby retailer in a matter of minutes. The senior begins receiving bills for purchases they never made.
6. Financial exploitation, online internet and securities fraud. Sadly, scammers sell long-term securities and stock to a senior in their eighties. The investment matures in 20 or 25 years; however, the senior will need to access the funds well before maturity and are subject to big penalties for breaking the bond prior to maturity.
Staying informed, being aware and asking plenty of questions are some of the best ways to protect yourself or your loved one against scams and fraud. And, you can learn more about frauds and scams by checking out Home Instead Senior Care’s information of fraud protection.
Were you the victim of fraud? Can you share your experience with our readers?