Fraud Warning Signs & Tips for Seniors

December 13, 2016 Admin

Sadly, seniors are the preferred targets for many con-artists and scammers, with 56 percent to nearly 80 percent of their calls directed at older customers. Seniors can be especially trusting and vulnerable so it is important to be aware of any hints that it may be a scam. Here are some of the signs to look out for and ways to avoid scams targeting seniors. 

Here are 6 signs you or your senior loved one should look out for:

  1. Scammers contact you “out of the blue”. It could be a knock on the door, a phone call, or a piece of mail you weren’t expecting. For example, you didn’t think you owed the IRS or a debt collection agency money, but they called claiming you could be in trouble if you don’t pay.
  2. Scammers claim there is an “emergency”. A scammer might warn that if you don’t respond immediately your prize winnings will be lost or that a relative or friend is in trouble in a foreign country. If something prompts immediate action, be cautious. 
  3. Scammers ask for your personal information. Scammers often pose as banks, health care providers and government officials asking for identifying personal or financial information. Anytime someone asks you for this information, be suspicious!
  4. Scammers want you to wire money. You may be asked to wire money or purchase pre-paid debit cards. This is the easiest way for scam artists to get their hands on your money, and it’s almost impossible to get it back once it has been sent. Don’t do it!
  5. Scammers tell you to keep it “secret”. By asking you to keep a transaction secret, scammers know you won’t have to respond to questions from family and friends who might see through the scam. Check with someone you trust before acting. 
  6. Scammers make it sound too good to be true. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Remember this simple mantra to help you detect and avoid scams. It’s always better to be cautious than to be a victim. 
Hang up the phone if the caller:
  • Asks you to wire money or buy a prepaid card
  • Says you have won a prize or a gift but you need to pay fees or taxes first
  • Asks you to visit websites or download software
  • Asks for usernames, passwords, account numbers, or your home address
  • Says the offer is only good for today
  • Asks you to keep the call a secret
If you or a loved one spot any of these signs of scams against seniors, make sure to follow these prevention tips and just hang up the phone!

This information was provided by Ellen Klum from the Oregon State Attorney General’s office. 

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