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Scammers look to target everyone and anyone, no matter your age. But the most vulnerable age group is undoubtedly senior citizens. Seniors are naive when it comes to technology, and are more susceptible to persuasion due to their deteriorated mindset. It’s sad to think of a nice elderly person being taken advantage of like that. If you are a senior or know someone who is, continue reading to learn more about elderly scams.
Types of Elderly Scams To Watch Out For
*Note: The below scams can happen online, or via text, phone call, mail, or email.
Who doesn’t want to win the lottery!? Lotteries (real or fake) are known to target seniors who are looking to win money for retirement or to leave behind for their loved ones. All too common are seniors sent fake messages saying they’ve won the lottery. However, before they can receive their winnings, they must provide their credit card information or send money from their bank account. These scams can be deceiving, especially if the perpetrators impersonate real lottery giveaways like Publishers Clearing House.
Health Insurance Scam
With regards to health insurance and Medicare/Medicaid, scammers target seniors as their health is likely deteriorating. The elderly look for the most affordable way to cover at-home care, nursing homes, medical equipment, prescriptions, tests, and more. Often, scammers will pretend to be legitimate health insurance companies offering free equipment (and charge for it later), or bill for supposed tests conducted.
This type of scam preys specifically on seniors who have problems remembering, such as those suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. A scammer calls their target pretending to be a relative who is in need of help. Usually, the scammer will say they are in need of money because they’ve been in an accident, are in jail, or are stuck in another country.
Funeral & Cemetery Scams
As one grows older in age, especially for the elderly, they start looking at funeral costs and cemetery information so their family won’t have to deal with making arrangements later on. Scammers use this fact to send seniors fake funeral and cemetery information and services to rob them of their money. The scammers may also pose as real funeral homes in your area in order to seem legitimate.
Tech Support Scam
With most seniors not being tech-savvy, they often need tech support for their television, wi-fi, and various devices. However, it’s common place for fake technical support sites to appear online, mimicking the real version of the website. Seniors believe they are contacting the real company when in fact, it’s a scammer.
It’s fairly easy online or over the phone to portray a fake charity. Usually, the fake charities involve giving money for natural disasters, health treatments and research, or to help families in need. Who would turn down helping a good cause? A senior with a fragile mindset would likely ask where to send the money to.
Older adults and seniors want to have enough money when they pass away to pay for expenses and leave to relatives. Investing is one of the ways seniors can grow their money without having to work. If they hear of an investment opportunity that seems amazing and will get them a good return, they will likely invest money without doing further research.
Romance scams are one of the most common scams the elderly fall for, especially online. Scammers assume a fake identity or impersonate another in order to attract an elderly person online. They establish a relationship with them to the point that the target can trust them. Then, they may ask the target for more personal information and even to send them money. It seems like an innocent request at first, until they keep asking for more and more without meeting in-person.
How To Protect Yourself From Elderly Scams
How To Report A Scam
There are numerous ways you can report a scam. First, contact local law enforcement. If the scam you describe is targeting others in your area, your information could help catch the perpetrator. Otherwise, you can report scams by contacting the below entities:
Take the above elderly scam information into consideration the next time you or your loved one are approached with an offer or contacted by a stranger. It could mean the difference between being safe and being a victim.
Learn more about online scams by checking out our page here.