Scams are happening daily. You’ve probably received a phone call, something in the mail, a knock at your door, or an email in the last few days where someone or some company is trying to sell you something or asking for a donation. Senior scamming is becoming more prevalent due to this generation growing up in the 30s and 40s where households were taught the importance of being polite and trusting. Therefore, it makes it hard to say “No” or to hang up the phone on a stranger.
Seniors enjoy the phone ringing, checking their mail, and spending time looking at emails because it breaks up the day. These activities are harmless until we bite the bait of a trap – the scams. Scammers are very strategic about who they target. They target all types of people, but seniors tend to be most attractive due to their vulnerability. Most people 60 years and older have a lump sum of money in the bank, own their own home, have great credit, and are retired – leaving free time for scamming exposure. Most seniors don’t even know they’ve fallen for a scam until it’s too late. And, if they’ve fallen for a scam and know it, most people this age don’t know who to contact for help – which makes them even more attractive for targeting.
Scams can happen in various ways – a knock at the door looking to sell you an improvement on your home because they say it’s needed, a phone call asking for a donation or to buy something, convincing you that you won a trip or money, or through email asking you to update your information or to wire money for a relative in trouble. Seniors tend to fall for scams related to healthcare, aging, and winning money, such as: false Medicare benefits and coverage, anti-aging products, discounted prescriptions, charitable contributions, telemarketing sweepstakes, and lottery tickets.
Just because you are older doesn’t mean you have to forfeit your power to a scammer who is trying to take advantage of you. Use these tips to help reduce your risk for being scammed.
Protect your personal information:
- Never send money or give out your personal information – credit card numbers, bank account numbers, date of birth, or social security number – to unknown people or companies.
- Never update or provide your personal information through an email you received
- Frequently monitor your bank statements to ensure there aren’t any mysterious charges.
- Review all receipts and ensure you are paying only the items you purchase.
- Shred important documents.
- Beware of your surroundings at all times and when you exit your car, do not leave your purse or wallet behind to avoid the theft of your personal information.
Be a savvy shopper:
- Fully understand what senior fraud is, the different types of scams out there, and the tactics con artist use to take advantage of people like you.
- Understand it is okay to say "NO" and hang up the phone.
- Do not buy anything you don't need (e.g., charity and anti-aging products).
- When taking a call, ask for the caller's name, address and a phone number to reach them at a later date.
It’s easy to understand why seniors are attractive to scammers. Don’t let your trusting, polite demeanor get the best of you. Educate yourself so you can be on guard for the scammer’s tactics. And if you feel you have fallen for a scam, and you don’t know what to do, immediately call your bank to put a stop to all transactions, and reach out to family or a close friend for help. The bank and your family or friends will help with what to do next. Stay safe out there!
For more information on scammers tactics, please click on the link below!