Top Scams that Target Seniors: If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Probably IsBy Home Security Source May 11, 2010 | 10:05:00 amPosted in: Personal Safety, Senior Safety
Some particularly evil criminals try to make a living stealing from senior citizens.. While some take a more obvious route by committing a home burglary or stealing a purse, others steal and cheat seniors with some pretty creative scams that often leave the elderly broke and confused. Below we break down some of the top scams that target seniors and how to prevent yourself or a senior loved one from becoming a victim.
Telemarketing Scams- These often involve offers of bogus prizes, low-cost vitamins and travel offers and target people over the age of 60, especially women. Telephone scammers often promise “free” or “low-cost” goods and get-rich-quick schemes. Here are a few common telemarketing scam ‘pickup lines’:
"You must act now or the offer won't be good," "You've won a free gift, just pay for shipping and handling," "You can't afford to miss this high-profit, no-risk offer."
Don’t get scammed: Just say “no,” and hang up the phone if you hear those lines or something similar from a telephone salesperson. You can also register for the federal government’s Do Not Call Registry by calling 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you want to register.
Medical Equipment Fraud- Equipment manufacturers offer "free" products. Insurers are then charged for products that were not needed and/or may not have been delivered and fraudsters often gain access to Medicare numbers.
Don’t get scammed: Never sign blank insurance claim forms or give your insurance/Medicare identification to anyone who has not provided you with medical services. Remember to ask your medical providers what you will be expected to pay out-of-pocket and keep records of all health care appointments and insurance benefits statements.
Grandchild in Trouble Scam- This crime especially targets senior citizens and is perpetrated when the scammer calls and says something like, "It's me, grandma." The grandparent responds, thinking it's one of his or her grandchildren. These scammers tell their ‘grandparents’ they are in trouble and need money; they often instruct the grandparent to wire the money and "please don't tell mom." The grandparents obligingly send the money, thinking they're helping a grandchild. Investigators say it works more than you might think.
Don’t get scammed: If you ever receive a call from someone claiming to be a grandchild, ask “who?” even if you only have one grandchild—your real grandchildren won’t mind clarifying. Most importantly, never wire money to anyone over the phone; call the police to report suspicious calls immediately.
A good rule of thumb: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you ever have doubts about a sales offer, phone call or email, contact the Better Business Bureau or local police department for help.
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