Today, it’s challenging to think of a group who has not been the target of a scheme. Whether it’s through something as basic as a deceptive call, or as complex as a computer hacker stealing personal data from a credit bureau, scams are out there. Unfortunately, seniors have become a preferred group for some of the individuals behind these efforts. One of the best ways to keep from falling victim to these ploys is to know about them ahead of time. Here are some common scams targeting California elders:
While many people prefer to text, seniors are a group that may be more apt to accept a phone call from an unknown number. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), report that senior telemarketing fraud schemes are widespread. The agency advises that if you get a call from a stranger with a pressured “limited time offer”, requesting immediate payment, this is likely to be a trick and not to make any purchases. Further, any unknown caller trying to get you to buy anything over the phone should be viewed with mistrust. Likewise, a caller claiming to be from the IRS, demanding that you settle back taxes or risk going to jail or having a lien placed on your home, is extremely likely to be a scammer. That is not how the IRS would contact you regarding a tax deficiency.
Email/phishing scams have been going on for as long as email has been around. However, scammers have become more sophisticated through the years and more adept at creating messages which appear to actually be from a credit card company, banking institution, or even the IRS. These messages often request that the recipient “update” or “verify” their information through a hyperlink. The link may take you to another seemingly ordinary website that is designed to steal your information. If you see this kind of email, contact your bank, credit card company, or whoever allegedly sent the message and talk to someone directly about its truthfulness.
Medicare and Insurance Scams
Another type of scam is when a caller will contact an older person claiming to be from Medicare or the individual’s insurance company. The caller could be someone impersonating a Medicare employee asking for your social security number or demanding a fee to maintain your services. A phony insurance representative caller may offer bogus coverage and try to get personal information over the phone and even a form of payment. Neither of these types of calls is legitimate. You can hang up and call the program or provider back if you want to confirm your suspicions.
With advances in technology, it seems like scams are here to stay, but by being vigilant and asking the right questions, you can protect your resources and information. At the Law Office of Alice Salvo, we have experience helping elders connect with the resources they need to protect their interests. Schedule a consultation today.