November 16 2018
Seniors are often the primary target for scams and fraud because many of these criminals feel that they are easy and naïve targets. Seniors may be experiencing feelings of loneliness and isolation and are just looking for someone to talk to, and scammers will take advantage of this weakness and use it against them to commit acts of fraud.
Common Senior Scams
Some of the more common scams against senior citizens include scams involving Medicare, counterfeit prescription drugs, and telephone and internet scams. A fraudster typically poses as a Medicare representative, for example, and gets seniors to give them private and personal information such as their Medicare identification number. The information is then used to bill Medicare for fraudulent services.
With a rise in prescription drug prices, many seniors are finding it harder to afford the medication they need. Fraudsters are aware of this and are quick to take advantage by setting up websites and advertising cheaper medications. However, the medications are counterfeit and will do nothing for the ailments seniors are facing.
Additionally, phone and internet scams are also popular, and scammers often get senior citizens to wire them money or download fake software to their computers. For a typical phone scam, the scammer may pretend to be a family member that needs help, or they can pose as a fake charity.
Some are also tricked into downloading fake antivirus software to their computer, and this software makes it possible for a scammer to gain access to any and all personal information that is stored on the senior citizen’s computer.
Senior Fraud Prevention
To avoid becoming a victim of senior fraud, there are several things you can do to begin to protect yourself:
1. Never give out your personal information over the phone including your social security number or bank account information. Instead, contact the company directly using a trusted phone number
2. Never pay for a service that is supposed to be free
3. If the scammer offers you what they are calling a limited time offer, tell them you need some time to make a decision. Ask them for a phone number. Most of the time they will not provide one because it is not a legitimate phone call
4. If you are ever suspicious of any phone call or email, ignore it. Don’t answer phone numbers you don’t know. If it is important, then nine out of ten times, they will leave a message with contact information
Again, the best way to deal with a fraudster or a scammer is just to hang up the phone, ignore the calls and emails, and report any suspicious activity. Learning some of the comebacks from above are also good to practice in case you are ever put on the spot with one of these calls.