Over $3 billion a year gets stolen from scammers and is not reported! According to the FBI, seniors are prominent targets for scammers, yet they are the least likely to report it once it happens. Scammers capitalize on a senior’s vulnerability and memory loss, and count on them being too embarrassed to report theft once it happens.
Some things seniors need to be aware of in order to protect themselves:
Social Security Scams
These types of scams remain the most prevalent, and scammers are getting more creative every day. Bottom line, if there is a problem with your Social Security, you will get a formal letter to say so. The SS office does not make unsolicited phone calls, and if you ever receive one, hang up the phone and report it immediately to the legitimate Social Security Administration by calling 1-800-772-1213.
There are truly too many to list at this point. In a nutshell, Medicare will pay for vaccines, so there is no need to trust an outsider who is asking for payment for them. And when it comes to treatment, trust your doctor. Any claim of “miracle cures” should not be explored without very careful medical supervision.
These are perhaps the cruelest of all. These are texts or emails that notify individuals that a grandchild is in an emergency and needs funds immediately. Replying to these messages will only perpetuate the manipulation. Simply don’t respond or hang up the phone.
Technology can be a nightmare to seniors, and scammers know that well. Be very wary of anyone who offers to fix your computer or cell phone (and as a result will have access to endless personal information.) If you’re having difficulties, ask a trusted friend or family member to help you find the appropriate repair shop or instructional assistance.
Immediately. Emergency. Take Action Now.
These are words that target the loving character most often prevalent in seniors. When these words are used, in print or on the telephone or computer, they should always be considered carefully. Don’t ever surrender financial or personal information and be sure to report the individual to proper authorities.
Perhaps most importantly, if this ever happens to you, know you are not alone! Seniors are the most targeted victims for scams, and they typically do not report them. If you suspect fraud or have been scammed in any way, contact the Inspector General immediately so that you have the right team of protection around you and no more of your assets will be affected.
Unfortunately, the old adage is typically true: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”