Seniors continue to be one of the most at risk groups for scammers to target. There are several reasons why this specific age bracket continues to be a popular target for predators. Seniors or “Older Americans” who are classified as over the age of 60 years old, as a group, are typically more trusting, less technologically savvy, and not as current on trending scams.
This lack of awareness on specific scams that are on the rise, perpetually leads to Older Americans being targeted by criminals. The scams perpetrated against them range between small scale incidents and full-blown instances involving significant monetary fraud and financial exploitation. Even though many seniors today are aware of the crimes that could happen, they do not know specifics or believe it could happen to them. We need to ensure that they have a deeper understanding of what the scammers are trying to accomplish and the motives they use.
This National Elder Law Month we want to share with you three of the current scams that are impacting Older Americans. Our goal is that you can not only identify these crimes for what they are but ensure that you and those you love will not become the next victim.
1. The Utility Bill Scam. The utility bill scam continues to be one of the most prevalent financial exploitation scams perpetrated against Older Americans. In this instance, the scammer calls the senior and pretends that a bill is late, unpaid, or that there are additional costs the senior was not aware of that need to be paid. The scammer threatens that the senior will lose power in the very near future if the bill is not paid. Older Americans need to be aware of the scam and before making any payment, hang up the phone and call the utility company directly. This call should be made to a different number than the one that was furnished by the potential scammer.
2. The Grandparent Scam. In the grandparent scam, the perpetrator pretends to be a family member, often a grandchild of the senior. The scammer will call the senior at an unusual hour with the goal to disorient him or her. The goal is to emotionally target seniors, alarming them and making them believe that a grandchild will face significant harm if money is not provided immediately. Although it is difficult to not give into this type of emotional terrorism, the Older American should hang up the phone and contact the child’s parent immediately.
3. Scams Targeting Identity Theft. Scammers today are relying on the older generation to have less awareness when it comes to their finances and identity. Scammers are relying on seniors to be willing to provide credit card information in multiple scenarios and to not understand the security risks involved with giving out private information online. One of the best ways to prevent this type of theft is to be extremely wary of giving any of your information out online. Further, seniors should consider enrolling in some type of identity monitoring company to ensure that they are less likely to have their identity stolen and used by scammers.
These are just three of the ways that scammers are targeting seniors right now. It is critical, if you are a senior, for you to arm yourself and be wary of potential threats to your identity and your person. If you are someone who is caring for or loves a senior, it is important for you also to stay abreast of these challenges and help the Older Americans in your life be protected from harm. If you have a question, we are here to help you. Do not wait to contact our office today.