It is estimated that older adults lose billions of dollars to scammers each year. But there is good news—last year the Federal Trade Commission noted that older consumers are more likely to report they’ve been victimized by financial exploitation than their younger counterparts.
Here are five scams that are notably making the rounds
1.Medicare Insurance Scammers — In scams involving Medicare, fraudsters pose as Medicare representatives to get seniors to give them their personal information, such as their Medicare identification number. The fraudster uses this information to bill Medicare for fraudulent services and then pockets the money.
2. Counterfeit prescription drugs — As prices for prescription drugs increase, seniors look the internet to find cheaper prices for their medications. Unfortunately, fraudsters are aware of this and set up websites that advertise cheap prescription drugs which are usually counterfeit. Seniors who unknowingly purchase these counterfeit drugs soon realize they have been duped when the drugs do not provide any relief from their medical condition or even cause additional health problems.
3.Funeral Scams — In one type of funeral scheme, fraudsters use obituaries to find out information about the deceased in attempts to extort money from family members or grieving spouses. They claim the deceased has an outstanding debt that must be paid immediately. Those close to the deceased are usually in a vulnerable state and are more likely to pay the fraudulent debt. In another scheme, dishonest funeral directors might try to deceive the elderly by capitalizing on their unfamiliarity of funeral costs and sell them unnecessary services, such as a casket when the deceased is going to be cremated.
4. Internet Scams — Since the elderly are usually not as savvy with handling emails and surfing the internet, they are easy targets for scammers. Victims have been tricked into downloading fake anti-virus software that allows scammers access to personal information on their computers. Seniors might also respond to phishing emails sent by scammers asking them to update their bank or credit card information on a phony website.
5. The Grandparent Scam — This scam is extremely deceptive because it plays on the elderly’s emotions. In a grandparent scam, a scammer calls an older person and pretends to be their grandchild. They ask them if they know who is calling, and when the grandparent guesses the name of one of their grandchildren, they pretend to be that grandchild. The scammer tells the grandparent that they are in some sort of financial bind and asks if they can send money using Western Union or MoneyGram to help them out. The scammer asks the grandparent not to tell anyone about their situation. Once the scammer receives the money, he continues to contact the grandparent and asks them to send more money.
Older people can also become targets for other scammers. There are those who prey on older men and women with religious schemes or even romantic ones. It’s important to keep an eye on their finances. We have seen instances where savings accounts have been drained by unscrupulous people who are sometimes even family members.