Unfortunately, scams among seniors are growing. With today’s technology and means of gathering information, it is easier than ever for scammers to perpetrate fraud. Scammers main objectives are to obtain personal information that they may use at a later date, or to scam money directly from their victim.
Some quick tips for protecting your information include:
- Don’t give any personal information to someone calling you. Always call them back at a number you can find on your own, not a number they provide for you.
- Don’t trust caller ID as numbers can be easily spoofed.
- Be aware of common scams, such as the ones listed below.
The majority of scams are done either online or over the phone, and there are several different ways these scams can manifest. And keep in mind, all of these scams can happen over the phone, online, or even in person.
We put together some of the most common phone and internet scams to help you know what to look out for.
Telemarketing/ Phone Scams
Phone scams are becoming more common as technology makes it easier for scammers to fake phone numbers.
In a charity scam, scammers will pose as a charity and ask for donations particularly during times following natural disasters.
Medicare or Health Insurance Scams
In these types of scams, perpetrators will call and request victims to update personal information they have on file in order to obtain your personal information for use in identity theft.
The Grandparent Scam
In a grandparent scam, perpetrators will pose as a grandchild in a financial bind, and ask for money to be sent through Western Union or MoneyGram. They will often start the call by saying something along the lines of: “Hi Grandma, do you know who this is?” and wait for the victim to guess, giving them the name they need. Scammers will then use that name to further pretend to be the victim’s grandchild.
Internet scams are commonly sent directly to an email, or can be a pop up ad that targets you while you are on the internet.
Lottery or Sweepstakes Scams
Scammers will send an email to their victim that they won a lottery or sweepstakes. They will then inform you that they need a fee paid in order to process your winnings. They may also have you enter in your bank routing account number so they can verify where to deposit the funds.
Email/ Phishing Scams
Usually emails are sent from what appears to be a valid company, such as the credit union or a credit card company, that you do business with requesting you update your information. The links can even lead to website pages that look real.
If you suspect you have been a victim of one of these scams, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk about it. Contact your bank, especially if you feel they may have gotten any of your account information. You can also file a police report.
For more information about these scams, and more, visit the NCOA website.
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