Stay Safe from Scams that Target Seniors
Identity theft and other financial crimes can happen to anyone. However, scammers often target seniors, so it is especially important to learn how to stay safe.
Seniors and caregivers need to stay up-to-date on common scams and overall safety measures to prevent fraudsters from accessing their personal data or stealing their money.
Fraudsters are constantly coming up with new ways to trick people, so it is important to stay aware of common scams and keep up with new scam tactics.
Pay attention to the news and other trusted sources of financial information, as they often report about new scams.
Here are some common scams to look out for:
- Online dating profile scams
- Lottery or sweepstakes scams
- IRS scam
- Grandparent scam (fraudsters pretending to be your grandchildren calling and asking for money)
- Fraudsters (usually from another country such as Nigeria) requesting to use your account to transfer funds to an American bank
- Text message or voicemail scams
- Counterfeit check or money orders
Scammers Try to Use Your Emotions Against You
One thing many scams have in common is scammers try to use your emotions against you. For example, scammers know that most people will want to help their loved ones in times of trouble. That is the basis of the grandparent scam.
The scammer may call in the middle of the night in hopes to catch you off guard and alarm you into acting quickly. They may pretend to be your grandchild or pretend to be an attorney or law enforcement official. They may pretend that your grandchild is hurt or stranded and in need of your help.
Though the tactics vary, the point is the same. The scammer is trying to frighten you into wiring money right away before you can find out that it is a scam.
If you get a peculiar call, ask questions that only your grandchild would know, something that an imposter could not guess. Even if you are worried, make certain that it is not a scam before you send money.
How to Protect Yourself Against Scams
Scammers constantly try new ways to trick people. That’s why it is important to be on the lookout for anything suspicious that may be a scam.
Here are some tips to help keep you safe:
- If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is
- Never wire money to someone you don’t know, regardless of what they promise you
- Scammers may have information like your email address, phone number, social media pages and similar personal data that they use to gain your trust and use against you
- Scammers may use checks or documents that look real to trick you
- Never let someone you don’t know trick you into getting a credit card or opening a checking or savings account
Remember, NEVER give your personal data to people you don’t know. Scammers will try to get you to act right away, but you should always check with your family or financial institution directly before you send any money to anyone.
Always remain cautious when it comes to your finances. Scams can be costly, so be proactive about keeping yourself and your loved ones safe.
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