It is sad and unfortunate that our senior citizens are at the top of the list for most targeted groups for scammers, identity theft, and fraud. One recent study found that scammers steal close to $3 billion a year from seniors.
Don’t let your hard-earned money be lost to people who could care less about your financial security. We’ve listed below the top 5 scams that seniors can fall victim to and how to avoid them.
It’s hard for most of us to imagine that anyone would prey on those who need assistance with medical care, but unfortunately, Medicare fraud is quite common. Scammers trick seniors into giving their personal information over the phone by posing as Medicare representatives. These imposters often offer free checkups or medical supplies that trick the senior into giving out their Medicare information and credit card number for fake shipping and handling fees.
The importance of protecting Social Security numbers is pretty well known, but scammers are pros when it comes to cunning ways of scamming seniors out of their SS information. There are many ways these scammers can use stolen SS numbers, but one of the most common is to use the number and claim tax returns for themselves. These hackers can trick anyone, but especially seniors, by creating fake websites that look like legitimate government sites where the victim enters their private information online. Other scammers have elaborate schemes where they easily trick senior citizens into giving their SSN and other ID information over the phone.
One of the most common forms of fraud involves stealing another person’s personal and private information in order to use someone’s identity illegally. Information can be stolen over the phone or internet where hackers use a combination of information to create a false identity. Others use more physical means like stealing credit cards and bank statements out of the trash.
Fake Virus scanners
Chances are, you’ve seen one of those pop-up windows telling you that your computer has a virus that can be fixed for a fee. The victim then clicks on the fake alert to download a virus scanner. Once the “scanner” has been installed, scammers gain access to the private information stored on the computer. Unfortunately, seniors may not be as internet savvy and can easily fall victim to this scam.
Seniors tend to have more money put aside for retirement and other savings accounts, and are often the target of con artists promising fake investments with big returns. Investment scams may come in the form of a complicated financial product, a pyramid scheme, or a foreigner looking for someone to help them claim inheritance money.
Tips for avoiding scams
Anyone can fall victim to fraud, regardless of age, but senior citizens are targeted more often than most. By talking with your senior loved ones about the dangers of scammers, you can help prevent them from finding themselves in an unimaginable financial situation.
- stress the importance of researching whether a company, offer, or unexpected debt is legitimate.
- explain that if a caller expects immediate action or refuses to allow the senior time to research the company, it’s very likely to be a scam.
- ensure they remain alert and wary of unsolicited phone calls and emails from companies or people they are not familiar with.
- help them to ensure that any website they visit is secure before entering any personal information.
- a good rule of thumb is always “if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.
- installing a Senior alert system app on your loved one’s phone allows you to monitor incoming and outgoing calls, texts, and emails allowing you to be made aware of any strange activity happening on the senior’s phone at any time.
More seniors than ever are now using smartphones to stay in contact with their families and connect with the world. The Senior Safety Alert app can be downloaded and installed for free from the Google Play Store and can easily be configured in seconds. This senior GPS tracker and safety alert app allow caregivers to monitor alerts, reports, and location remotely using their smartphones or computers. When the Senior Safety App is active you will receive alerts for emergency help requests, falls with the phone, phone inactivity for an extended period of time, app installs or uninstalls, entry/exit from geo-locations (buildings, streets, cities, or neighborhoods), network changes (sim card change), and low battery alerts. Download for free today!