It is sad to say, but older people are often the primary targets of fraudsters.
Seen as trusting and a soft touch, liars, scammers, low grade sales reps, ID thieves and even some charities will try to squeeze what they can out of people who are older.
Independence is vital to many people; especially those wanting to age in place, in their homes.
And, this means you have to be aware of scams, and know how to counter them and who to trust.
This article will give you some information on how to do this.
The Top Scams Targeting the Elderly
Many of these scams are targeted at people of all ages, but some are specific to senior citizens and their unique needs and financial situations.
Each scam is an attempt to pry money from you, but usually do not involve actual ID theft. For example, these scams are aimed purely at those over 60:
- Reverse Mortgage Scams
- Cemetery Scams
- Funeral Scams
- Fake Anti-ageing products
- Medicare Fraud
Then there are those which are ubiquitous to the Internet and are experienced by all people.
However, seniors are known to have a higher rate for falling for these scams or being targeted by them. These scams do try to steal your identity for a longer term, higher value heist.
The top ID theft scams are:
The Nigerian Letter: Also known as the 419 fraud dating back to the 1920s, this involves a foreign senior official requiring your help to transfer government funds. Actually, they just want your bank details.
Fake Emails: Phishing emails from financial institutions that you use. Each one requests you login to your account, but will actually just steal your information.
Financial Representative Employment Offer: Targeted at middle management, but also retirees, this is similar to the Nigerian Letter but presented as a job in alternative banking.
Tax Identity Theft: ID thieves want your Social Security Number to claim tax rebates on your behalf. You know when this has happened when the IRS reject your tax submission because yours has already been filed.
Your Computer has been Infected: A company fakes a virus on your computer and tries to get your details in order to fix the issue.
How to counter ID thieves and scams
You can resist all of these claims and issues with a simple motto:
Never give out your personal financial or social security information to anyone over the phone, online or by email; especially if they have contacted you.
If you have an issue with the IRS, they will not phone you. They will write to you and let you arrange something with them in person or you can phone them.
The same is true with financial institutions like banks. If you fear your account has been hacked, go to their website and phone them or pop into your local branch to talk to someone face to face.