Many older adults fall prey to scams yearly, losing much of their life savings to these swindlers. According to a report by the FBI, about 100,000 people over the age of 65 were scammed in 2020, the amount lost per person averaging $9,175. Swindlers either gain these targets’ trust or utilize intimidation tactics and threats to take advantage of them.
If you have a loved one in this age group, you may be concerned about the risk of them being a victim too. Identifying the common scams that target your elderly loved one can help you prevent them from being part of the annual statistics and also protect their money.
This scam often occurs around the Medicare open enrollment period, and scammers will ask for your card number for activation purposes or will say that your card is not working and request your personal information so that they can send you a new one.
Things to note:
- Medicare will never call to sell you anything, and nor will they visit you at your home.
- Protect your Medicare numbers like your credit card numbers, do not give them out to any sources other than trusted and verified health providers.
- Always review your Medicare Summary Notices to verify that you have received the services that you have been billed for.
Older adults who use technological devices and applications may not recognize online scams as easily as their younger counterparts. There are two main types of internet scams you should be wary of.
- Phishing Scams: Scammers may pose as staff from the bank or legitimate government organizations and send you a text or email requesting you to update or verify your personal information. Do not reply to such requests. Additionally, if there are any links in the text or email, do not click them as they may contain malicious code that could enable viruses.
- Virus Scan Scam: When visiting some less secure websites, a pop-up window may appear stating that it will scan for computer viruses. Do not click it as it will either download viruses into your device to gather your personal information, or it will download fake anti-virus software that require high subscription payments.
These scams come in the form of phone calls or an online advertisement for a bogus tech company. They will convince you of a virus or an issue with your phone or computer. Afterward, you will be told that they require remote access to your device and will need you to confirm your identity with your personal information. They may then install a virus and steal information located on the computer or demand payment for their technical assistance.
Things to note:
- Tech companies won’t call you when there is an issue with your device.
- Should security warnings appear, do not click anything. Call a trusted company for assistance.
What If Your Loved Ones Suspects They Have Been Scammed?
They should speak to someone they trust immediately. Keep resources they can turn to, such as the police, banks, and Adult Protective Services. If your parent is currently living in a retirement community, they can highlight their situation to the team members who will be able to render the appropriate assistance.