Even though we’re all susceptible to becoming victims of scams and fraud, older adults are much more likely to be targeted, for several reasons. For one thing, scammers believe seniors are more financially sound than those who are younger. They may be lonely and isolated, making them more vulnerable to carrying on a conversation with a scammer on the phone. And, they’re assumed to be more polite and trusting. As a result, older adults lose an astounding $3 billion each year to senior financial fraud.
The key to prevention is knowing the red flags of a scam artist, and staying up to date on the latest fraud trends. To assist, American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care share some of the most prevalent scams targeting seniors below:
- The Trusted Government Official Scam.These phone calls appear to come from the IRS, Medicare, Social Security Administration, or simply a Washington, DC area code, making it easy to believe the calls are legitimate. The scammer will ask to confirm the older adult’s personal information, stating that they are investigating back taxes that need to be paid or some other legal resolution.
- The Grandchild Scam: In this frightening scenario, the scammer claims to be the senior’s grandchild who is having an emergency and is in need of funds to help. The caller will plead with the older adult to keep the call confidential, requesting a gift card or money wire transfer to obtain money.
- The Love Scam: Online dating is a common way for single or widowed older adults to find companionship, but unfortunately, it also opens them up to scammers. Online dating fraud involves scammers creating elaborate fake profiles, utilizing stolen photos and details, to trick seniors into falling for them. They will eventually ask for funds to travel to meet the senior, but then disappear with the money.
- The Winner Scam: Vulnerable seniors receive notice that they are winners of a lottery or other type of contest. In this scam, the seniors are required to pay a fee to collect their “prize.” The scammer will ask the senior for bank account details in order to deposit the winnings. Sadly, however, this can lead to the theft of large sums of money, sometimes wiping out an older adult’s hard-earned savings altogether.
- The Internet Scam: Internet scammers use pop-ups that alert their victims to a “virus” the computer has been infected with. In order to have the virus removed, the user needs to pay a fee or download software that will allow the scammer to steal personal information.
Though scams such as these are incredibly disturbing, there are steps you can take to protect the older adults you love, including:
- Make sure senior loved ones have caller ID and utilize voice mail for any unknown callers.
- Talk with older adults about the importance of NEVER giving out personal or sensitive information over the phone.
- Be wary of any mail that contains contests, sweepstakes, or prizes; if it sounds too good to be true – it probably is.
Scammers are very good at what they do, so never belittle or criticize an older adult who may have fallen victim to them.
Additionally, allow the referred care providers at American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care to help an older loved one remain vigilant against senior scams by providing an extra pair of eyes to ensure safety. Partnering with a referred care provider ensures that an older loved one has regular companionship, which helps to eliminate loneliness, one of the top factors that can lead to older adults being vulnerable to fraud or scams. Referred care providers also offer a wide range of in-home care services, such as light housekeeping, meal planning and preparation, personal hygiene care, and so much more.
The Florida senior care experts at American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care are here to ensure the independence and safety of the older adult you love. Contact the office nearest you to learn more.
- American In-Home Care – Serving North, Central, and West Coast of Florida
- Advocate In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
- Whitsyms In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661