Unfortunately, it is a sad reality that financial scammers gravitate towards the elderly. There are various reasons for this, however, the most plausible theories are that the elderly are not as up to date with the latest scams, because some elderly may have a decent amount of money in the bank after working their lives, or simply because they are afraid of losing their money as they are on a fixed income. No matter the twisted reason that a person scams a senior, it’s important for people to be aware of some of these common scams and fraudulent acts. This post will detail the top 4 financial scams that seniors fall victim to.
Financial Scams That Seniors Should Look Out For
Whether you are a senior yourself, or you have a senior in your life, it’s imperative that you know the common scams that attack aging adults. A specialist that works for a company that specializes in in-home care for seniors stated that the more that people know about these scams, the easier it will be to avoid them.
Here are 4 financial scams to watch out for as a senior:
These are some of the most common kinds of scams that prey on older people. Scammers will pose as fake people and will tell a senior that some aspect of their life is in trouble. From there, scammers will get elderly people to give them their personal information so that they can hack their accounts and steal money from them. Common phone scams include:
- Scammers posing as insurance agents
- Fake social security employees calling and saying there is an issue with their check
- The “grandchild scam”; scammers posing as elderly people’s grandchildren and requesting money
- Fake medicare agents reaching out
Oftentimes, elderly people will become panicked by what the person on the other end of the phone is saying and willingly give their personal information.
Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams
These kinds of scams are found all over and are something to watch out for. Scammers will tell seniors that they just won a contest, a free vacation, a large sum of money, or even an item, and will then coherence them into giving them their personal information so that they can “proceed to their prize.”
Some seniors may not be familiar with this tactic and will willingly give their information, thinking they are doing something good and exciting. Sadly, this is not the case. If you are told that you have randomly won something the likelihood that it is real is low. Be sure to look into the source on your own and see if it is a real source. More often than not, it’s best to ignore and block the sender of the message.
As the age of technology persists, internet scammers are getting more and more creative. There are all kinds of internet scams, including:
- Emails from fraudulent social security agencies
- Messages from fake insurance and Medicare/Medicaid agents
- Fraudulent anti-aging products
- Fake charities
- Fake investments
Like phone and lottery scams, scammers will scare seniors, saying they are in some kind of trouble or that their money is going to go to something important, and will extract information from them. With that information, scammers will get into the elderly’s bank accounts and take their money, leaving them with nothing.
Fake Online COVID-19 Tests
A popular internet scam that has become popular recently is the fake online corona test. Scammers know that elderly people are afraid of contracting the COVID-19 virus so they are taking drastic measures and precautions to prevent it. Scammers are selling fake COVID-19 testing kits and selling them to fearful seniors. Not only is this wrong because scammers are stealing seniors’ money, but also because this test does not work so could put seniors in danger.
How Can I Avoid Financial Scams as a Senior?
Financial scams are an unfortunate reality of modern-day society. As the Digital Age persists, scammers are getting more creative and are taking advantage of the lack of in-person contact. However, being scammed can be somewhat preventable as long as you know what to look out for. If you are a senior or have a senior in your life, here is what you need to know about avoiding these 4 financial scams.
One of the best ways to avoid being scammed out of money as a senior is to do the proper amount of research when someone contacts you that you don’t recognize, or when you are unsure of something that is being offered. If it seems too good to be true, it more than likely is. Or, if you don’t know a person that has emailed you asking for personal information, there is a good chance that he or she is a scammer.
Do your research on a person or company that has reached out to you. You can simply Google this person or company to see if it really exists and to see what people are saying. If this person is fake it’s likely that other people got scammed by the same ploy and are talking about it online. Similarly, you will be able to see if what they are claiming or offering is real or if it is in fact a scam.
After you have done the research to determine whether or not this message is legitimate, contact the person/company and ask questions. Ask how they got your information and what exactly they are looking for. Make it a point to go out of your way to contact them, if they are real then it will not be an issue.
Likewise, ask yourself some questions like, does it make sense this company is contacting me? Have I spoken to this person before? Do I have an account with this business? Oftentimes, people get so flustered by a message that they receive that they don’t ask themselves these simple questions and proceed in giving their personal information. This is especially true for seniors.
Asking questions and doing research are among the best ways to avoid being scammed.
Protect You and Your Aging Loved Ones
To best protect yourself from scammers, be sure to stay up to date with the latest scams to ensure that you do not fall victim to them. Though scammers are inevitable, you don’t have to be impacted. Keep these 4 financial scams in mind so that you can be as proactive as possible.
About the Author
Kelsey Simpson enjoys writing about things that can help others. She lives in South Jersey and is the proud companion to two German Shepherds and spends her free time volunteering in dog shelters.