How to Avoid Scams: Tips for Seniors

how to avoid scams

Con artists often target seniors through the phone, mail or internet. Therefore, we have put together a few tips for seniors on how to avoid scams.

How to Avoid Scams for Seniors

The FBI, the Federal Trade Commission, the United States Justice Department and many local law enforcement groups have all made statements about seniors being the target for scams. Women over the age of 60 who love alone are especially susceptible.

In recent years, con artists have taken advantage of numerous older Americans by scamming  seniors. Realizing that many seniors have money but little knowledge of technology or current scams, criminals see opportunity. However, you can help protect senior loved ones by sharing information with them about common senior-targeting scams.

Senior Phone, Mail and Door-to-Door Scams

Many scams targeting seniors are over the phone. The following are the most common senior-targeting scams:

Health

The following are common health-related scams that target seniors:

  • Health insurance scams requesting personal information
  • Health insurance scams offering or requesting money
  • Medical equipment telemarketing
  • Medial billing calls
  • Telemarketers claiming Medicare covers their services or products
  • Blank health forms requiring signatures

Charity

The following are common charity-related senior-targeting scams:

  • Telemarketers requesting financial information over the phone
  • Claims that unfamiliar local charities need funds
  • Requests to support individuals or invest in new charites

Home Goods and Services

A few home goods and services scams that target seniors include the following:

  • Door-to-door repairmen or contractors who have not been requested
  • Service personnel claiming to be sent by a utility company without prior notice
  • Contractors without refund, cancellation or other legal details
  • Providers looking to install equipment without prior request
  • Anyone who asks for money before work is complete

IRS and Service Provider Scams

IRS and services provider scams are also common for seniors, including the following:

  • Phone calls supposedly from the IRS requesting information or money
  • Tax or service related mail asking for a signature or money besides regular bills
  • Offers or winnings for contests or lotteries seniors have not entered
  • In-person visits without prior notice from supposed collection agents
  • “Bank” or “bank card” requests for personal or financial account information

Digital Scams Targeting Seniors

Many scams that target seniors use digital technology, especially pop or emails. This is because seniors are less likely to understand what is or isn’t valid online. Look out for the following digital scams targeting seniors:

  • Emails claiming someone is in danger or needs ransom
  • Email subjects that say “RE:” but are not replies to emails seniors have sent
  • Emails about goods or services “purchased” that have not been purchased
  • Pop-ups that claim ransom or software is needed to unlock the computer
  • Offers for tech support or protection software from unfamiliar companies
  • Any requests for passwords, personal information such as social security number or money made by companies seniors do not have an account with
  • Emails supposedly from known providers or companies that are not “.com” or that look unprofessional
  • Services offered by unknown entities, including “tax accountants” that are unfamiliar
  • Offers or winnings emailed or in a pop-up that seniors did not sign up for

How to Avoid Scams and Protect the Elderly from Them

Encourage your senior loved ones to do the following:

  • Allow loved ones to have involvement in their finances
  • Ask a trusted love one about any requests for personal or financial information
  • Require written documentation before agreeing to a contract or giving away information
  • Ask for a certified letter when government agencies call
  • Never hire someone or allow someone inside if they are going door-to-door
  • Refuse to make on-the-spot decisions, ask for contact information instead
  • Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry: 1 (888) 382-1222
  • Verify with known representatives using official provider numbers when receiving calls on the provider’s behalf

Additional Home Care Tip:

Develop a list of the names, numbers and email addresses of seniors’ utilities, insurance and other finance-related providers. Urge seniors to contact those designated provider representatives using the list instead of discussing legal or financial matters with people who call them.

 

These are just a few tips on how to avoid scams targeting seniors. Our caregivers here at HomeSpark are committed to providing the best care for your senior loved ones in the Bryan/College Station area. Contact us with the link below for more information!

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