While a seemingly limitless number of scams exist, a large number seek to target the elderly. If a scam succeeds it can have devastating impacts on a senior seeking to preserve his or her assets.
Information and awareness often provide the best protection against these scams.
Prevalent scams in recent times
The National Council on Aging reports that older individuals lose as much as $3 billion each year due to financial scams. Both the senior and his or her care network should pay attention to schemes that target the elderly. One of the most common scams involves people impersonating a government official. This typically comes in the form of a phone call.
These criminals pose as agents from the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration or Medicare. They refer to a bogus unpaid bill and demand payment immediately. While these scams involve a number of sophisticated methods, they fail in one important area: these agencies will never call and demand immediate payment.
The grandparent scam tries to pass off as a grandchild of the victim. If successful, they ask to receive money to help with an emergency situation.
Additional popular scams
When it comes to stealing money from the elderly, no ploy is too audacious. Romance scams, for example, exploit the loneliness of some seniors by engaging in a fake romance. Eventually, the scammer seeks to gain money through gifts and cash. Additional scams prey on other vulnerabilities:
- Charity requests
- Sweepstake and lottery schemes
- Tech support calls
- Internet phishing ploys
Seniors and family members should watch out for dubious callers and those who exert pressure for payments. When in doubt, seniors should investigate the legitimacy of any inquiry and get help when possible.