Senior Scams and How to Avoid Them
Posted on September 24, 2016
all over the news. Senior scams are scary. Since the 1990s, seniors
have grown increasingly likely to be targets of scam artists.
According to the FBI, seniors are targeted by scammers and con
artists due to the belief of the senior “nest egg,” a large stash
of money saved away since retirement. Con artists hope that seniors
don't pay as much attention to their finances as younger generations.
It can take months for seniors to catch a disparity in their funds.
When that happens, many seniors don't know who to call or are ashamed
to admit they've been scammed. Unfortunately, this only increases
scammers' desires to continue to target the aging-in-place
Alert1, we believe that every senior should be equipped with
knowledge about scams. We believe that seniors do not have to sit in
silence and shame after a scam. Knowing what kind of scams to look
out for and where to go to report them can help empower you to say no
Popular Senior Scams
are many types of scams perpetrated in the world. Law
enforcement agencies have noticed a trend in the scams targeting
senior citizens. Here, we created a list of the most common scams
that are perpetrated against seniors—and what to do if you suspect
you're being scammed.
IRS Tax Return Scam
It doesn't matter the time of year. Your phone always seems to be
ringing with an automated message from the IRS saying you still owe
the government money. Since tax season happened a while ago, you
can't quite remember if you sent the check in—something these
scammers are relying on.
Demands will usually include a check being
written to include your tax amount and extra “late fees.” If you
are on the receiving end of calls like this, hang up the phone! The
IRS will never call you on the phone about your tax return.
I've Won a Prize Scam
In your mailbox one day, there's an envelope saying congratulations,
you've won a cruise for two to Mexico. You're so excited, as you've
never won anything like this before. If it all seems too good to be
true, it probably is. Usually such prize letters will include a
request for your bank account information, so the prize can be
deposited directly into your account. The scammers are waiting to
drain your accounts within 24 hours of sending them all the
When you receive mail like this, don't send in
any personal information. Instead, alert local law enforcement
agencies. They may be able to use the information in the letter to
help track down the scammers.
Health Insurance and Medicare Scam
all know that going to see the doctor is important as you age—and
scammers know this too. Con artists will go to great lengths to get
medical and personal information. Some even set up a fake clinic to
steal personal medical information and bill your health
insurance for fake services never offered. Any money the insurance
company sends out, will go straight into their pocket.
may set up a fake pharmacy, or offer to fill your prescription
medications for less—while selling fake or even potentially toxic
substances to you. Be wary if you hear about a free health clinic
that's popped up in the neighborhood, or an offer of discount
prescription medications. Always check with your health insurance for
a list of doctors and pharmacies near you.
Phone Calls and Telemarketer Scam
watching TV one night and see an advertisement for the perfect
birthday present for your son. You pick up the phone, and have placed
an order within five minutes. You didn't even have to leave the
house. While ordering over the phone is fast and convenient, think
twice about placing an order with a telemarketer.
artists create an elaborate offer to sell and then comb through call
data banks for phone numbers to call. It might sound like a great
offer on a new table set, but don't give your bank information to a
stranger calling over the phone. Instead, ask for more information.
If they pressure you into providing payment information right away,
hang up the phone.
What to Do After a Scam
you or someone you know has been a victim to a scam, contact law
enforcement right away. Elder Care provides links to resources
including legal assistance. Visit them at eldercare.gov or call
1-800-677-1116. Elder Care also provides access to information and
resources in partnership with the FBI.
is nothing wrong in taking a stand. So breathe out any lingering
feelings of shame, and move forward into making sure that these
scammers never target someone else again.
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