In an ideal world, you could get a call from someone and trust that it was genuine. Sadly, we don’t live in an ideal world. Fraudsters will pose as just about anyone to try and scam people out of their money, bank account numbers, or other personal information. Unfortunately, studies show that older adults may be even more vulnerable to fraud. However, there are ways you can protect yourself from scammers! After all, knowledge is power. Here are the top FIVE scams targeting older adults.
We’ve all heard of Publisher’s Clearing House, right? Maybe you’ve signed up for the sweepstakes in the past. While it would be nice to receive a call stating that you won a million dollars or more, it could also be a nightmare—if the caller is actually a scam artist. Here are a few signs you may be dealing with a fraudster:
Have you ever gotten a strange call from an unknown number? Maybe you answered the phone, only to be hit with an earful of silence or static. Or maybe a voice asked if you could hear them and then hung up when you responded. Unfortunately, this means you may have been a victim of the dreaded robocall scam. Scammers may be recording your voice in order to authorize unwanted charges or payments. Some signs you might be on the receiving end of a robocall are:
Note: Always remember to report suspicious phone calls, texts, and emails to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
We all receive dozens—if not hundreds—of emails every day. Sometimes, the emails might appear to be from a trustworthy institution, like a bank or a credit card company. Instead, it’s a trap—a digital Trojan horse. Once your personal information has made its way into scammers’ hands, then they can use it to authorize unwanted charges and more. However, you can actually recognize phishing scams! Here are a few signs the email or text you received isn’t genuine:
Sadly, many fraudsters may impersonate government officials, as well. They may inform you that you haven’t paid your taxes or threaten to discontinue your Medicare benefits. And while this type of call can be scary, don’t let it rattle you. Instead, take a deep breath and look for these signs that the call is not genuine:
Many scammers will strike right at the heart—your family. A common scam is known as the “grandparent scam”, wherein the fraudster impersonates your grandchild and proceeds to wheedle information out of you. Alternatively, they may pretend to be an authority figure or someone else connected to their grandchild and call you on their behalf. Whatever the case, a few signs that you may be a victim of the dreaded grandparent scam are:
In order to protect yourself against fraud, be vigilant. Keep track of your bank records and review your monthly statements closely. If you get a call from an unknown number, be on guard. Maybe the person calling is exactly who they say they are, but don’t ever blindly trust anyone—even if they claim to be a loved one. If you’ve been a victim of fraud, don’t fret. Instead, take a deep breath and make sure you call the police, your bank, or the Federal Trade Commission at 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357). Always stay up to date with the latest scams targeting older adults, so you can protect yourself against them. After all—knowledge is power.
Originally published August 18, 2023