Top Scams that Target Seniors

Scams cost people over 60 over $2.9 billion a year, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Seniors are prime targets for several reasons: they are thought to have a significant of money sitting in their accounts, they are more trusting of people, and they are less likely to report the crime if they discover they’ve been scammed.

The first way to protect yourself against scams is to knowledge. Here are five of the most common scams perpetrated against seniors:

Medicare Fraud

In this scam, thieves may pose as a Medicare representative promising a refund or providing “discounted” services at makeshift mobile clinics at shopping centers or health clubs in order to get personal information. They use this information to steal seniors’ identities and to bill Medicare and pocket the money. To avoid this scam, only provide personal health information to healthcare providers you personally know. If you are due a refund from Medicare, it will be sent automatically to anyone who is entitled. No paperwork is necessary.

Counterfeit Prescription Drugs

These scams usually show up in the form of bogus websites offering name brand drugs at discount prices. The medication, if it shows up at all, is usually just a placebo, which not only will do nothing to help the condition the medicine was purchased for, it make actually do harm.

The Grandparent Scam

This scam is seemingly so simple, it’s hard to believe it works. But it works quite well. Since 2010 the Federal Trade Commission has recorded more than 40,000 cases, which may just be the tip of the iceberg, as it is estimated many more cases go unreported. Scammers call pretending to be a grandchild in trouble. If they are calling cold, they may use a line like “Hi Grandma, do you know who this is?” Once the person says “Daniel?” or “Sarah?” they’re in. The scam artist will them explain they have an emergency which requires immediate cash, sent via Western Union or MoneyGram, which don’t always required ID to collect. They then beg their grandparent not to tell their parents because “they would kill me.”

The “You’ve Won a Prize” Scam

You may get a call or email telling you you’ve just won a magnificent prize or the lottery. To collect, all you have to do it pay a processing fee or the taxes upfront. If this ever happens to you, hang up the phone or delete the email. It’s a scam. No legitimate organization will ever demand money to claim a prize.

Home Repairs

In this scam, someone will show up at your door, offering a free consultation for home repairs to saying they were doing some work in the area and they have extra materials left over and are willing to do work for you at a substantial discount – but you have to agree to it immediately and pay in full in advance. Needless to say, once you’ve paid them your hard-earned cash, they disappear.

The advice for avoiding scams is fairly universal – don’t do business with anyone or any company you aren’t personally familiar with. Never pay for anything upfront, and know that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Written By: David Virden

Submitted By: Emeritus Senior Living

Contact: Emeritus at Eden Estates (817) 267-2488

                 Emeritus at Oak Hollow (817) 267-6200