With a new wave of technology, scamming is at an all-time high, especially for senior citizens. In what has become known as an “imposter scam” or a “grandparent scam,” cons pretend to be a loved one in need, such as a grandchild. As any good grandparent knows, they will immediately help a loved one in need, usually sending cash via mail. However, it is just a scam. According to the Federal Trade Commission, up to 25 percent of people over 70 sent cash to loved ones when they were in need. Furthermore, the median amount of money sent was an astounding $9,000. However, this can be avoided. The first step to ensuring the safety and actual needs of your family members is to call them back, immediately. Call their direct phone number and simply ask “Are you actually in trouble.” This might seem easy, but it is often difficult to think rationally when you believe a family member is in trouble. Thus, you should look out for red flags associated with scams. These red flags include the scammer asking for personal information, i.e. credit card or Social Security numbers, passwords, or account logins. There are many forms of scams these days, such as Phishing Scams, Prescriptions Scams, Email Fraud, and Lottery Scams. We have outlined these for you so you can best safeguard yourself from dangerous financial situations.
The first and most common scam is known as a phishing scam. Phishing scams are usually fake calls made to seem legitimate, such as posing as a representative of a bank or Medicare. For instance, scammers pretend to be health insurance representatives, but they’re really fishing or “phishing” for your personal information, such as your Social Security number or Insurance ID. By gaining your information, scammers are able to bill various services, such as Medicare, for fake purposes and then keep the money that is sent. One way to combat these phishing scams is simply by hanging up. By hanging up, you can then contact the service that is allegedly contacting you to verify it is the actual company. Furthermore, it is imperative you hang up on any individual who is asking for personal information over the phone. There is virtually no situation in which you will receive a call from a legitimate company and must provide your login passwords or social security number.
Prescription Drug Scams
Another common scam involves fake prescription drug scams. These have become rampant on the internet with the rise of medicine prices throughout the country. Scammers tend to set up websites promoting cheap, generic alternatives to high priced drugs, and collect your money without having any intent on providing your necessary medication. Alternatively, seniors often fall for the scam, paying for the medicine and later discovering that the drugs they bought weren’t what the doctor ordered. Sometimes they’re fakes, which can create more health problems. Sometimes they don’t receive the drugs at all. The best way to avoid this scam is by consulting with your family or your doctor before ordering any medications. They will be able to verify the website and the medicine’s authenticity.
As previously stated, the rise of technology has created a multitude of new ways for scammers to operate. One of these ways involve email scams. Email scammers often try to scare you by saying something was stolen or that you have won a prize. They will even provide links for you to find out what was “stolen” or what you have “won.” In order to avoid this scam, you should never click a link provided. Rather, you should go to the actual company’s website and sign in how you normally would. Some common signs of a scam email are a blank “to” field, bad grammar, or poor spelling. Finally, be wary of emails that simply say “Hello.” The majority of genuine emails will include your name, not just a blanket statement saying “Hello.” Additionally, you should consider installing an antivirus software on your computer. This will help prevent damage in case a malicious email is opened by mistake.
Finally, everyone, senior citizens and millenials alike, should be wary of lottery scams. This scam usually involves a mailing, via email or traditional mail, saying you have won the lottery and by submitting a flat fee of x dollars, you can claim your money. People, specifically seniors, then believe they have won the lotto and have made it rich, but you should think again. Furthermore, the scammer will even send a fake check to the victim to be deposited in their bank account with the knowledge that it will take time for the bank to reject the check. Thus, the victim truly believes they have won the lotto and will pay the subsequent fee. Avoiding this scam is simple, never give money to claim any supposed prize you are offered.