Scams target seniors for a variety of reasons. Some people think seniors are easy targets. Others think seniors have larger bank accounts. And others think seniors are too polite to say no.
If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, report it. Financial scams among seniors often go unreported, which leaves the scammer free to do it again. If you’ve never been scammed but are worried about it happening to you, your best bet is to understand the signs of scams targeting seniors. Once you can identify a potential scam, you’ll know how to avoid it.
Signs of Scams Targeting Seniors
How can you identify a potential scam if you don’t know what they are? Common financial scams targeting seniors include:
- Medicare/health insurance scams
- Counterfeit prescription drug scams
- Funeral and cemetery scams
- Fraudulent anti-aging products
- Telemarketing/phone scams
- Internet fraud
- Investment schemes
- Homeowner/reverse mortgage scams
- Sweepstakes and lottery scams
- The grandparent scam
Accept that loved ones can try to scam you.
Ninety percent of elder abuse happens by people you know. It’s a sad statistic, but it’s true. It’s important to recognize when you are being taken advantage of, even if that means recognizing it from your own loved ones, like adult children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and others.
Use caution with unfamiliar phone calls, emails, or people.
Always approach unfamiliar solicitations with skepticism. If something seems fishy, or if your instinct is telling you to say ‘no’, you probably should. Random emails from strangers that don’t use proper English, have grammar or spelling errors, or include strange hyperlinks could be scams. Never give your personal information to a website, phone call, or person if you’re not 100 percent positive it’s trustworthy.
Don’t open strange emails or links from unfamiliar sources.
Internet fraud is huge among people of all ages. Scammers will try to hack into your computer via an email or link you click. Sometimes the link or email will ask for personal information, like name, social security number, username and password for a particular website, credit card information, etc. But the tricky part is the website asking may look exactly like a credible source. Always look for proper spelling and grammar, official company logos, trust indicators, and proper English. Never click a link if you’re unsure about the source.
Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’.
Another sign of a potential scammer situation is an overly-pushy salesperson who won’t take no for an answer. Older generations have been raised to be polite so many scammers think seniors will give in and never say no. They may pressure you with a “high-profit, low-risk” offer that can’t wait. If you opt to think about it, they may try to talk you out of it. All of these are signs of scams targeting seniors. Say no and get out of the situation fast.
Know where your personal information goes.
The Internet has made it so much easier for identity theft to happen. Scammers use online tactics to acquire seniors’ personal information and use it to steal their identities. This gives them access to everything that’s yours – your retirement account, your bank account, your credit cards, etc. Make sure anytime you submit personal information online, you’re using a credible website. Never send personal information through an email, and try not to store personal information on your computer’s hard drive. All of this can be hacked by a scammer.
The intention of this post is not to scare you regarding scams targeting seniors. Rather, we hope to educate you on what to look for so you know what to avoid. Education is power, and the power is in your hands.
As a continuing care retirement community, Concordia Life Care Community is dedicated to the health and wellness of its residents. We’re here for you in every way – from your physical health to your mental and emotional health and beyond. View our floor plans today, or contact us to schedule a visit to see all our beautiful community has to offer.