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Top 10 Scams Targeting Seniors

Be Wary of Anyone Asking For Money Over The Phone or Electronically

A real eye-opener for me, personally was when my grandfather almost fell for one of these scams a few years back. The grandparent scam as it's called. The scammer called him up and told him my cousin was in trouble in another country and he needed to send money immediately to get him out. Fortunately, he spoke with family members before anything was transacted. The reason it was such an eye-opener for me, was watching an intelligent, successful business man whom I had looked up to my entire life, fall for something like this in his latter years. Try to really keep an eye-out for your loved ones, family members and friends when they reach their twilight years.

Frauds perpetrated against seniors are estimated to cost victims $2.9 billion dollars each year. The Senate Committee on Aging operates a hotline for reporting types of frauds or scams and they they came up with this list of the senior frauds that were reported most frequently  2018. The hotline calls are just the tip of the iceberg. Most cases are probably missed. It's estimated that only one in 24 cases is reported and that 1 out of every 10 Americans who are 65 or older and living at home will be a victim of one of these scams or frauds. 

Top 10 From Least Common, To Most Common

10. Identity Theft 

Stolen personal information is used to make unauthorized credit card purchases, steal money from bank accounts or even to apply for Social Security benefits or other healthcare coverage like Medicare.

9. Pending Lawsuit Scams

Someone calls and tells you there is a warrant out for your arrest often because you've failed to report for jury duty or something similar and you will be arrested immediately unless you pay a fine. Remember, no agency is going to call you and demand money over the phone. 

8. Social Security Impersonation

Fraudsters will call your phone or email you claiming to represent the Social Security Administration and ask for your personal information like Social Security numbers or bank account information. 

7. Romance Scams

They will contact you through an online dating site over social media and once they've struck up a relationship they ask for money. They may ask you to pay for a trip to come visit you or to cover some kind of an emergency like medical costs. Either way be very wary of romance online.

6. The Grandparent Scams

Unfortunately, this is the one my family has experienced. They pretend to be the victims grandchild and claim they need money. They may also claim your grandchild is in an emergency situation and they need money.  

5. Elder Financial Abuse 

The improper use of an older person's funds, property or assets. Victims are usually in their eighties and they live alone. The perpetrators are usually family members, caregivers or financial advisors. 

4. Computer Tech Support Scams

This is where someone might pretend to work for a well-known company like Microsoft or Dell and claim your computer is infected with a virus. They  then try to get remote access to the computer as well as the credit card and/or bank account information. They will claim they need this to fix the fictitious problem. Many pop-ups with viruses can also do this. 

3. The Sweepstakes Scams 

They will call or email victims and tell them that they've won the lottery and they just need to pay a few hundred dollars to collect their winnings.

2. Robocalls

I don't know about you but I cannot believe how many robocalls come to my cell phone now. Technology now allows scammers to make it seem as if their calls are originating from a local area code even thought they aren't. 

1. The IRS Impersonation Scams

 Scammers claim that an individual owes back taxes or penalties and they say that unless you pay immediately you could be arrested or have your home foreclosed on. 

Bottom line: If anyone calls and ask for money and you have any doubt at all, tell someone you trust like a family member or professional you know and trust.

Source: 10 Top Scams Targeting Seniors

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