Many scams are universal ranging from tax authorities threatening action, to phishing to gain sensitive identity or finance related info etc. But some of the scams are clearly targeted at the older people. As older people we are more vulnerable because we are in the habit of answering calls from unknown callers, open junk mail rather than tossing it in the trash, or are not as practiced with the privacy settings on social media as younger generations. Assets accumulated over time, maybe some inherent loneliness, cognitive decline older people more susceptible to a scammer’s tricks. In the article below the author outlines a few typical scams to stay alert about. Team RetyrSmart
Beware of these scams that target the elderly
Here are six scams that you should watch out for.
Sweepstakes or Lottery
You hear by phone, mail or online that you have won—or have the potential to win—a jackpot. But you need to pay a fee, or cover taxes and customs duties, to receive your prize, perhaps by prepaid debit card, wire transfer, money order or cash. Or, the scammer may send you a bogus check that you need to deposit before sending a portion back. Even if the contest carries a legitimate name, stay away from schemes that require you to pay to claim your prize.
A so-called tech support representative calls and claims that your computer is infected with a virus. Once you hand over remote access, they dig into your personal files or request payment for their services. Seek tech support only from the contact information provided with your devices. In 2018, people age 60 and older were about five times more likely to report losing money to these scams than were younger people.
“Grandchild” in Need
Your “grandchild” calls—perhaps in the middle of the night, startling you awake—sounding frantic, because he needs fast cash to deal with a medical emergency, a travel disaster or to get out of jail. He begs you not to alert his parents. The con artist on the other end of the line may have extracted enough details about your grandchild from the internet, such as his or her name, city and school, to weave together a believable story, and may explain away a distorted voice by claiming a bad phone connection or broken nose. “You’re pulled into an emotional trap and can only think about helping your grandchild,” Hang up and call your grandchild or an in-the-know relative to check in.
You get a message on an online dating site or through social media that says something like “Don’t you remember me? I’m your second-grade crush. You look so good,” The seducer may spend weeks or months building a relationship over phone and e-mail, then ask for money—perhaps to help him or her travel to you or to deal with medical issues. “These are some of the most devastating victimizations,” “Some victims can lose hundreds of thousands of dollars—and the dream a scammer created for them.”
Someone claiming to be a Social Security/PF/Insurance staffer contacts you and tries to extract money or personal details. He or she may pretend there is a problem with your account, that your Social Security/PF/Insurance number has been suspended because of suspected illegal activity, or that you’re owed a cost-of-living benefit increase. Worse, the caller may threaten your benefits, suggest you’ll face legal action if you don’t provide information, or pressure you to send money. If you’re not sure whether a call is legitimate, don’t rely on your caller ID; hang up and call their customer service lines to speak with a real representative.