One way that criminals try to take advantage of our vulnerable seniors is through financial scams. In fact, seniors are the biggest target for financial scams. Here are several recent examples of financial scams that affect the elderly—and tips on how to not be a target.
The Medicare Scam
As shared by the website Credit.com, one common scam is to call, email, or visit the homes of seniors over age 65 and claim to be a Medicare representative. The scammer may tell seniors they need a new Medicare card and that they should share their Social Security number to receive the new card. The “Medicare representative” may say you need to pay a fee to continue benefits. Tip: Real Medicare employees should have your information on file. Do not give information to someone you have not verified is from Medicare, Credit.com cautions.
The Grandparent Scam
Someone calls the home of a senior, pretending to be a grandchild. “Making their lie seem more believable, the con artist will playfully ask the older adult to guess what grandchild is calling,” Credit.com reports—and that often leads the senior to share a grandchild’s name. The scammer than says they need financial help and asks the grandmother/grandfather to send money via Western Union or MoneyGram. (Recently, there’s been an uptick in scammers asking seniors to send cash via regular mail, according to the National Council on Aging.) They also will ask the senior to keep the money gift a secret. Tips: Be suspicious, even if the person on the phone knows some information about you (he or she could have viewed that information via social media). Verify that the person on the phone is actually your grandchild by texting or calling their real phone number. Do not send money unless you are 100% sure you know who it is.
National Disaster Scam
With disasters like hurricanes, flooding, and wildfires hitting around the U.S., generous seniors may want to contribute to help those in need. Unfortunately, scammers take advantage of these good intentions by calling from fraudulent charities or by setting up fake websites where people can make donations. Some also will say they are from real charities, just to solicit personal information. Tip: If you choose to donate money, check that the charity is real via the IRS’s tax-exempt organization search, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) advises. Guidestar and Charity Navigator also can provide helpful information on charities.
Social Security Spoofing Scams
More and more people are receiving fraudulent phone calls from people who say they represent the Social Security Administration, according to the NCOA. The scammer will say the person faces arrest or legal action unless they call a certain phone number. On caller ID, some of these fraudulent calls even will show the real Social Security Administration phone number. Tip: “If you receive one of these calls, hang up,” the NCOA advises. “Know that Social Security rarely contacts persons by phone unless you have ongoing business with them and they never make threats about arrest or legal action.”
Call Secure Aging to Find Out How We Can Help Seniors With Money Management
At Secure Aging in Bradenton, we transform the weight of the world into a sigh of relief for our senior clients and their concerned family members. The mission of Secure Aging is to protect and preserve our client’s independence and dignity through careful and thoughtful financial and care management. As our clients age, it is their desire to remain independent and age with dignity. Our services protect our clients from talented con artists looking to exploit and deplete the financial resources of our vulnerable seniors. Secure Aging helps families in Manatee County and Sarasota County and in and around the communities of Anna Maria, Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Ellenton, Holmes Beach, Lakewood Ranch, Longboat Key, Myakka City, Palmetto, Parrish, and Sarasota. Call us at 941-761-9338, or visit us online at www.secureaging.com.