A friend’s Mom called her a short while ago, asking if her Grandson could possibly be stranded in Mexico. Thank goodness she did. My friend informed her that her Grandson was indeed not in Mexico and put him on the phone to speak with her. Someone impersonating her Grandson, the woman’s son, had called and told the Grandmother he was stranded in Mexico and needed money urgently. Somehow he had the name of her Grandson and was very convincing. The money he asked for was several thousand dollars. It made this Grandmother very worried, but she also felt something wasnt quite legitimate, so instead of immediately sending money, she called her daughter for verification.
There are several different variations of this type of scam and they can be very frightening to all of us, but especially so to our Seniors. One of the most heinous, which seems to affect people of all ages is the IRS scam. A caller imitates an IRS agent, tells the person who answers the phone they owe several thousand dollars in back taxes and they will be arrested if they don’t send money.
Originally printed in USA Today: “They might “spoof” their phone number so it looks like it’s coming from the IRS or another government agency and will demand payment immediately. In reality, the IRS wouldn’t call you — they’d send a letter. They also wouldn’t demand on-the-spot payment or threaten you with arrest by a local police department or sheriff. To verify, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040. This is the top scam faced by seniors. (This is part of a class of scams known as imposter scams and can include calls from fake cops, federal investigators and debt collectors.)
Medicare card scam
This is a new one, ironically based off a government measure to make identity theft harder. Everyone on Medicare whose ID card bears their Social Security number is getting a new card so that scammers can’t as easily get hold of that number. But now scammers are calling people and telling them that they need to pay for a new card or for expedited service (you don’t). Experts say the government is automatically sending the new cards to all 58 million Medicare beneficiaries — for free — so there’s no need to pay anyone for anything.”
I hope you share this post with friends of ALL ages, but make certain you share this with your aging parents and Grandparents. not just once, but regularly warn them about any solicitations over the phone. If they are on Social Media site like Facebook, there are also those “friend requests” from people they don’t know who’s goal it sometmes is to steal money or access to accounts from them. We all have to be on the look out for these scams, but it seems our seniors are still the most vulnerable group.