Common Scams Aimed at Seniors

posted 6/16/2015 in General

It seems that today, anyone will do anything to make a dollar. This includes taking of advantage of seniors. Seniors have spent their lives working to build up savings for their retirement. This makes them a prime target for criminals who try any number of methods to get access to vital information.

Here are a few scams to be aware of if you, or aging parents / loved ones are prime targets for scams.

Fake IRS scam

In this scam, a person calls you and claims to be an agent from the IRS. They threaten jail time, fines and lawsuits if “unpaid taxes” aren’t dealt with.

Health care scam

Scammers call claiming they work with Medicare or your health insurance company to try and gain access to your personal information. They often call back claiming they have talked to a son or daughter and that it is okay to provide them with Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers or personal information.

Unprincipled financial advisers

We’ve all heard the horror stories with characters like Bernie Madoff. It’s important to research investment professionals and pay attention to the money going into and out of your account.

Great grandchild scam

A phone call will start with, “Hi Grandma, do you know this is?” They wait for the victim to say a name, and then search the name on the Internet for personal information to share in order to sound credible while on the phone. They then proceed to ask for money.

Prescription and anti-aging drug scam

Seniors are far more susceptible to these type of scams. As the price of prescription drugs continues to increase, many seniors look online to find cheaper medicine. However, these are not always legitimate, or the scammers simply don’t deliver the drugs.

Obituary scans

Con artists will read the obituary pages of the local newspaper and call the deceased relative’s family. They demand outstanding debts, “recent purchases” or other items that require immediate payment.

Funeral and cemetery plot scams

Unfortunately, almost every industry has a few bad guys. Funeral homes have also been caught selling expensive caskets to those who don’t need them and adding unnecessary charges to bills.

The only way to stop these types of scams is to increase awareness about them and be sure aging loved ones don’t send payments unless they are certain of the origin of the charges.  Be sure to share these scams with anyone you feel may be susceptible to these types of scams.  If you have an aging loved one that is experiencing diminished ability to differentiate between legitimate expenses and possible scams, it’s a good idea to have a trusted resource help with their money management. 

Lincoln Savings Bank, Member FDIC

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