Age with Grace Series: Stay a Step Ahead of Scammers

Getting scammed can happen to anyone. Many Millennials and GenZs have fallen victim to the CEO-gift card scam at work. That particular scam preys upon new hires, leveraging their desire both to do well and to feel special by being recognized by the CEO and asked to purchase gift cards for employee rewards. And when they’re directed not to tell their co-workers because it’s a surprise, they willingly comply.

While everyone is a potential victim of a scammer, the aging population is a favorite target. Seniors are often less familiar with technology and unknowingly hand over important information or passwords. They may be lonesome and eager to chat, divulging pieces of information that the scammer can put together and use to steal from them. And oftentimes, proudly independent seniors don’t want to admit to their children that they’re vulnerable or have been taken advantage of.

The most powerful tool scammers have over their victims —whether a tech-savvy Millennial or a widowed retiree—is embarrassment. Embarrassment over falling for a scam keeps people from asking questions before they hand over their money and even from asking for help once they’ve already become a victim.

Take back the power.

Arm yourself with information about scams such as what some of the current scams are, red flags to look out for, and who to go to for help or to report a possible scam. The scams these days are incredibly well crafted and deceptive so if you fall victim, get over your embarrassment—it can happen to anyone!—and get help. The sooner the better!

Here are some resources that provide valuable information about scams, how to try and avoid becoming a victim, and what to do if you do get scammed.

The Federal Trade Commission Scam Alerts provides resources on:

  • How to avoid a scam
  • What to do if you were scammed
  • How to report scams to help the FTC stop scammers

This website also lists common scams and provides detailed notes on how to recognize a scam with specific information on some of the most common scenarios: social security scams, phone scams, phishing scams, and unemployment scams.

The AARP Scams & Fraud website page provides useful and up-to-date information about scams, and even offers a sign up for bi-weekly watchdog alerts. Further, with their scam-tracking map, you can see what kind of scamming activity is going on in a specific area of the United States. You may want to check in on what’s going on where you live and where you may be visiting.

The Virginia Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection web page Red Flags and Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim of a Scam is a helpful list of specific things to look out for to detect a scam. The site also provides information on current scams and the intended targets.

Finally, connect with your local resources. Stay up to date with your local news. Check in with your neighborhood watch, your HOA, or your community center. It’s also worthwhile to see if your city or police department provides any information on scams, perhaps on their websites or even through social media.

Work with a Virginia elder law attorney.

If you’re concerned about scammers, you may want to talk to an elder law attorney to learn what steps you can take to protect your assets.  We are very aware that this might be a difficult step to take, and you can count on Wilson Law PLC to respectfully provide you with asset protection strategies for your situation. Call (866) 603-5976 to schedule an appointment or fill out our contact form and we’ll call you to schedule a meeting.