Many elderly people get conned out of their hard-earned money because of their vulnerability. Scammers know that many old people are extremely trusting, and in most cases, incredibly gullible too, so these con men prey on them relentlessly, in many different ways. Some of the latest scams being used against the elderly these days include:
• Phone calls from fake IRS agents — scammers posing as IRS agents phone senior citizens, claiming that they’re contacting them about unpaid back taxes. They then threaten the person with legal action, suspension of their driver’s license, and in many cases, even arrest, in an attempt to frighten the senior to pay a certain sum of money
• The health care scam — fraudsters, claiming to be Medicare representatives, will call on the elderly to get access to their contact details and other personal information. The scammer then calls the person back at a later stage, claiming that he/she has spoken with a son, daughter, or other relative, and has said that’s it’s okay for the senior to give the caller their Social Security number, driver’s license number or other important, personal information. The scammer then in many cases, according to National Council on Aging, sends a bill to Medicare, and then pockets the money themselves
• Dishonest financial advisers – seniors must be very careful of financial advisers, even those trusted professionals. What they do is advise the elderly person to pay an amount of say, $40,000 per month, and then keep half of that amount for themselves
• The funeral scam — there are even unscrupulous funeral parlors who will try to scam the elderly out of money. Knowing that the senior is grieving, they will convince them to buy the most expensive casket they have to offer, even if the deceased is being cremated. They will play on the senior’s feelings by telling them that buying the most expensive casket is a great way to remember their departed loved one. Dishonest funeral homes will also add excessive amounts to their bill for cemetery plots, in the event that the deceased is to be buried. Although they scam anyone this way, it is more-often-than-not that seniors are targeted
• Scammers offering technical support — many senior citizens are computer literate these days, and fall prey to cyber criminals. Targeting most times the elderly, the so-called technical supporter will call, stating that he is from a well-known company like Microsoft, saying that malware or a virus has been detected on their computer. They then offer to fix the problem remotely, provided that a payment of a few hundred dollars is first made either online or via credit card. Should the senior citizen refuse to pay, then the scammer threatens to destroy the computer, and if the senior person pays, their computer doesn’t get repaired, since there was no problem to begin with.
What the elderly can do to prevent being conned
Many senior citizens are lonely and are only too happy to speak to someone that is offering to help them. Most of them are extremely trusting too, and would never believe that anyone would scam them out of their money. However, family members, friends, and neighbors of the elderly can do a lot to prevent the senior from being scammed, such as:
• Financial matters will become a burden to them, so help them wherever possible, to make important financial decisions
• Remind the elderly to never give out their personal banking details, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and so forth, to just anyone who calls and asks for it
• If someone calls them, stating that they work for the government and demands money, that they should ask to see proof that they are indeed, the person they claim to be. This should be an official letterhead or a certified letter from the government
• Tell the senior to never simply hire someone who comes to the door saying that the plumbing or electricity needs fixing, or the roof needs to be repaired. They will take the money and leave, without doing any work at all
Thousands of elderly American citizens are being conned out of their money every year. The above tips should help to prevent your aging friend or parent from becoming yet another victim of the scammers that prey on them.