According to the National Council on Aging, financial scams against seniors are becoming more and more prevalent due to seniors typically having significant savings in their accounts. These types of crimes against retired seniors can be virtually devastating, as elderly persons most often aren’t able to return to work to recoup the losses suffered through such crimes.
Below, experts at Desert Schools Federal Credit Union identify three of the most common scams targeting seniors.
1. Internet fraud
Often times less frequent users of the Internet, seniors can become easier targets for online scams. Inexperience with pop-up scams attached to browser windows, and underuse of virus protection software can fool victims into downloading a virus that may capture personal information stored on the user’s computer.
2. Medicare/health insurance scams
Due to the fact that all U.S. citizens or permanent residents over the age of 65 qualify for Medicare, scammers may contact seniors via phone and pose as Medicare employees to obtain personal information. Never provide personal information to someone who has reached out to you over the phone. Verify the outreach by contacting Medicare directly and stay vigilant for other telephone and telemarketing scams.
3. Funeral scams
Criminals may read obituaries and contact relatives of the deceased, posing as an individual or representative of a company to which the departed owed money. These scammers will attempt to extort money from grieving widows or widowers in an effort to settle the phony debt.
If you’ve been the victim of a scam, make sure to report it to your local police department immediately, in addition to your bank if someone has obtained access to your accounts. Organizations like Adult Protective Services are also devoted to assisting seniors in many aspects of life. To reach your local Adult Protective Services office, call the Eldercare Locator, a national governmental resource, at (800) 677-1116 or visit their website at www.eldercare.gov.
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