By Jessica Still on August 16, 2016
New Scams Seniors Should Know About
Many seniors are often targeted by scam artists simply because of their age and the fact that they are not always the most tech savvy. Add to this, their willingness to trust others, and before you know it, the senior in your life could be the very next victim of an unscrupulous scammer, depleting their savings in no time flat.
Seniors are defrauded out of an astonishing $40 to $50 billion dollars each year from scam artists, and in fact, 26% of all fraud victims in the United States are over the age of 65.
Why Seniors are Targeted
Seniors are more likely to be targeted with scams due to their lack of comfort with numbers especially when it comes to finances. There is also an emotional component to being scammed, and scammers are not afraid to tap into it. Whether it is excitement or fear, scam artists know that playing to a senior’s emotions is a sure way to conning them out of money.
In some cases, the scammer will prey on the emotions of seniors in an effort to make them feel special or that they have been chosen for some prize or award. They can also evoke negative feelings of fear in scams that involve telling an older adult that they owe money to the IRS or some company and use fear to get money from them.
Recent Senior Scams
One recent scam is the Jamaican Lottery Scam, which claims the person answering the phone has won millions of dollars, as well as a car, in a sweepstakes contest that takes place in a foreign country. The scam comes in where the senior is required to pay fees and taxes before they can get their money and car.
Another recent senior scam is a letter that claims the older person has won a lottery, a check is included in the letter, but they must call a claim agent and pay a fee to cash in the check.
A third scam targeting seniors involved a person who claimed to be a relative. They told the senior they needed $40 thousand dollars to get out of jail and all the senior needed to do was buy $40,000 worth of iTunes gift cards. This scam is similar to the “Grandparents Scam,” where a caller claims to be a grandchild and they are in jail and need money to get out.
Tips to Prevent Senior Scams
When it comes to senior scam prevention, there are ways you can help yourself or a loved one remain safe. These include:
- Understand that, as a senior, you’re a target.
- Know that these scammers are professional and act accordingly.
- Stay in control of your emotions.
- Make it more difficult to be contacted by scammers – use a cell phone / get on the Do Not Call List.
- If in doubt, hang up, do your research to check everything out, and ask family members for help in tracking down information before giving someone money.
There is simply not enough law enforcement to catch and lock up all the scammers in the world, but you can keep the loved on in your life from becoming a victim by knowing the most recent scams to be on the lookout for and taking the necessary steps to stop a fraud attempt before it starts.