How to Protect Yourself from Scammers

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Beware! Scammers are out there, and they are taking advantage of seniors. Why? These clever con artists know seniors are unaware of scammer threats and their tactics. Plus, the idea that seniors have more money to spend while sitting at home idly makes them the perfect target for these swindlers.

The FBI reports that seniors are racking up more than $30 billion in losses annually from these scams. So why aren’t seniors reporting the issue? The FBI concludes that seniors may be nervous that scamming incidences will make their family question their ability to handle their own finances, while others don’t know how to go about reporting fraud or are too ashamed to even address it.

Types of scams

Tech support scams. Criminals will call acting like tech support representatives looking to fix an issue with the senior’s computer that does not exist. Criminals will gain remote access to the computer, retrieving passwords and other sensitive information.

Government impersonation scams. The scammer will pose as a government official who threatens to send the senior to jail unless they agree to pay a certain amount.

Home repair scams. These scammers will come to the senior’s home and claim to provide home repair services, charge upfront, and never complete the work.

Medicare scams. These criminals impersonate Medicare representatives, tricking seniors into providing information by enticing them with fake offers, like free medical supplies and services.

Overdue utilities. Scammers will either show up to the senior’s home in a fake uniform or call the home impersonating the electric company or internet provider claiming the senior owes money.

Charity fraud. Most common after a natural disaster, scammers will call seniors asking for money to contribute to a relief fund, tricking the senior into providing credit card info.

The family member in need. Sadly, scammers are now able to hack into the email of family and friends pretending to be them. Scammers will send emails acting as a loved one in the hospital or in a bad situation and in need of money. Seniors are convinced to send money to what they think is a family member in need.

How to tell if you’re being scammed and what to do

  • Scammers may say things like, “you need to act now!” or “you’ve won a free prize, but you’ll just need to pay for shipping.”
  • Be careful with computer pop-up ads or websites that look fishy (misspelled words or poor grammar). You’ll want to make sure all websites are secure before putting in any sensitive information— here’s how to know.
  • Be sure to take the time to research companies before putting total faith in their claims or services. Google reviews are a great place to start.
  • Be wary of any email from family members or services that sound off. Always reach out to that family member directly before believing any email claiming they need your help.
  • When on the phone, be sure to hang up immediately as soon as you sense something strange.

It’s unsettling to know that the kindness and generosity of seniors are being taken advantage of through these scams. But you can ensure that these criminals are on the losing end. Be cautious, be aware, and be on the lookout for the subtle tricks of these criminals.

Our Caregivers with our Group Adult Foster Care and Adult Foster Care programs treat your loved one like family. That includes protecting them from those who are out to manipulate and take advantage of them, just like these scammers do. Learn more about how to have one of our trained Caregivers provide quality at-home services to you or a loved one.

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