It seems like every week we hear of another new senior scams that takes advantage of our senior citizens. Outlined below are ways to identify common scams and how to report them if you think you have been a victim of these frauds.
Seniors are easy targets for con artists looking to make a fast buck. The reason seniors are easy to scam is that they are often trusting, vulnerable and sometimes lonely or confused.
The Grandparent/Emergency Scam plays on the emotions of our senior population. The con artist will pretend to be a grandchild in distress on the phone. Sometimes they say they are in hospital, stuck in another country or in jail. The caller might have personal information (names, birthdates, and addresses) to convince you that they are legit.
In each case they are looking for you to send money quickly without having an opportunity to verify the caller’s identity. They could be crying, claiming they are embarrassed and ask you to not share the call with other family members. They may sound scared and insist that you need to wire them money as quickly as possible. Often they will claim they have a bad telephone connection and no time to talk.
What to do to avoid getting ripped off?
Do not give out any information like names, banking information, credit card numbers. Ask for the caller’s phone number and later verify that it belongs to your grandchild. Hang up and call your grandchild on the last known phone number that you have to verify that they are not the caller.
DO NOT EVER send money – unless you are absolutely positive it is going to someone you know. Once you wire funds – it is just like putting cash in the mail.
Many families will develop a code word to use in these emergency scams. Just ask the caller for the code word. If they have it – then you can feel confident about the identity of the caller.
If you believe you are the target of a senior scam please call the local police force and ask for the fraud squad. You can also read more online about these types of senior scams and how to avoid getting ripped off.