Throughout the last year, scammers have taken advantage of people through coronavirus scams. However, plenty of suspects are also using traditional ways of attacking the financial security of seniors. As part of the Tompkins Financial family, we encourage you to take the time to reach out to older folks you care about and remind them of the following financial frauds they should be aware of:
Here the scammer pretends to be someone else via phone call, text, or social media. After gaining the person’s confidence, they often ask for gift cards, or funds to visit a sick relative. The scammer may send money to the senior and then ask for them to send some of it elsewhere as well. The money they send may be stolen from another account or a counterfeit check.
The fraudster connects with a person online and sends them a counterfeit check for an item listed for sale. Then, claiming they sent too much money, they ask for some funds back. The customer then is on the hook for the entire amount.
The scammer will call an older adult and confirm they have a grandchild. Then, posing as law enforcement officials, they’ll ask for funds to bail the grandchild out.
The options here are almost endless. The bottom line is that if your personal identifiers (social security, account information, DOB, Credit cards number, or account passwords) are used without your permission, your identity has been stolen.
Scammers pose as medical representatives to collect seniors’ personal information, including their Medicare identification number. They then use this information to bill Medicare for fraudulent activities, eventually stealing the money.
Scammers call or approach a senior in person, saying they are collecting donations for a worthy cause. However, actually, they have nothing to do with the cause or charity and are looking to collect victim’s money and identity for their gain.
As seniors are usually not interested in handling emails and surfing the internet, scammers easily target them. Internet scam involves downloading fake anti-virus or other malicious software that allows access to your personal information. Seniors might also respond to phishing emails asking them to update their credit card or savings/current account information on an illegitimate website.
Sweepstake or Lottery Scam
It involves contacting victims via mail or phone, saying that they have won a prize but must pay a fee to obtain it. Scammers send a fake check to the senior, knowing that it will take some time for the bank to reject it while the victim has sent fees to them through wire transfer.
Counterfeit Prescription Medications
As prescription drugs’ costs increase and most seniors are on a fixed income or living with retirement funds, they look for cheaper drug alternatives to save some cash. Scammers are aware of this and set up websites advertising low-cost prescription drugs that are usually counterfeit and won’t provide relief from health issues.
If you believe you’ve been the victim of a scam or identify theft, it is recommended that you consider doing the following:
-First, contact your bank.
-Next, go to the Federal Trade Commission’s website and complete the ID theft affidavit.
-File a report with your local police.
-Check your credit report.
Call on your trusted advisors at Tompkins Insurance to help you protect your valuable assets.