Senior Scams to Watch Out for in 2022January 12, 2022
It seems scammers have always viewed older adults as easy targets. In the old days, it was shady door-to-door salesmen and contest schemes delivered in your mail. Unfortunately, today’s technologies have taken scams to a whole new level.
The Senate Special Committee on Aging reports that each year, scammers cheat seniors out of approximately $2.9 billion — and seniors tend to lose more when scammed. In 2019, the median individual financial loss reported by people ages 80 and older was $1,700, which is a 55% increase from the previous year. In 2020 alone, there were nearly 1.4 million reported cases of identity theft and nearly 400,000 cases of credit card fraud.
This blog post examines what seniors need to watch out for in 2022.
Tech Support — We’d love to think that everyone who works in customer support is on the up-and-up. However, seniors are often the target of fake calls from supposed tech support people. Beware of tech support calls that you didn’t request, and be careful of tech support numbers you find online. Don’t give out passwords or personal information to anyone not verified, and especially don’t let them pressure you into paying for something.
Telemarketers — Your best bet is to hang up on telemarketers, even though it feels like you’re being rude. Most often, they’re selling something you don’t need — or worse, trying to get your money or personal information for a fake product or organization. Don’t fall for it.
Phishing — Nope, it’s not about rods and reels. Phishing is when criminals use emails or text messages to trick you into revealing personal information to steal passwords and account numbers. These scams may also unleash malware on your devices that allows cybercriminals to gain unauthorized access to your bank accounts and more. Do NOT click on any link you don’t recognize. It could place you and your computer in danger of serious identity theft.
Medicare Scams — Sad but true, there are criminals out there posing as Medicare representatives trying to get you to give up personal information, which can lead to serious identity theft. Some will even try to get you to pay for a service or talk you into placing an order so they can get your credit card information. They may promise that you’re owed a refund and they just need your Medicare number and bank account information. Hang up and contact Medicare directly to report activity like this. You can find more good tips here.
Fake Government Agency Scams — The most important thing to know is that the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) NEVER ask for your personal information over the phone. What’s more, they will NEVER demand immediate payment by phone. Official communication from these agencies will always come through the mail. Many scammers will threaten you with arrest or say your benefits will be cut off if you don’t comply. Hang up and contact the SSA or IRS directly to report activity like this.
Credit Score Scams — Scammers may call and promise that if you make a payment by phone, they can fix your credit score or eliminate your debt. Legitimate companies do not operate in this manner. Do not give out your personal information to a caller. Rely on your accountant, your bank, or your financial advisor to help with these issues.
Other Creative Threats
Grandparent Scams — Sad but true, criminals can get your cell phone number and send you a text posing as your child or grandchild telling you they are in immediate financial need (post bail, stranded somewhere, flat tire, etc.) Do not respond. Call a family member for help instead.
Romance Scams — Beware if you are on dating sites or Facebook, etc. Be careful who you communicate with and by all means, NEVER give out your personal information or send money. There are criminals ready to take you for everything by telling you a sob story.
Gift Card Scams — Scammers will tell you to go to specific stores to buy gift cards. They may tell you you’re evaluating a retailer as a secret shopper. Then they call you back to ask for the PIN off the card to activate it. Once they do this, they can use your gift card.
Sweepstakes or Lottery Winner Scams — Scammers call you and claim you’ve won something, but in order to collect your prize, they’ll need your bank information or other personal information to cover a fee to collect your winnings. Do not fall for this!
The bottom line? Be vigilant and be wary. If your gut says something feels off, it surely is. If you do feel that someone is attempting to make you the victim of fraud, don’t hesitate to report it. Better safe than sorry.
Make Your Move to Our Carefree Lifestyle
Monroe Village in Monroe Township, New Jersey, has so much to offer independent seniors looking for an active lifestyle coupled with a worry-free plan for care in the future. That’s what it means to choose a Life Plan Community. Explore our variety of inviting floor plans, and then give us a call.