We all hear stories on the news about seniors getting scammed out of thousands and none of us think we’d ever fall for such a thing! However, the scams are getting so much more sophisticated with the advancement of technology, and the number of victims of this type of crime is steadily on the rise. Here’s several of the most current scenarios to be aware of:
No one wants to hear that they owe more money to the IRS. Scammers try to lure victims with phony emails and phone calls claiming that victims are due a refund or threatening that action will be taken because more money is owed. It’s important to remember that the IRS will never contact you via email or by phone, only by direct mail to the address they have on file for you.
This spring, of 2018, Medicare will be mailing out new cards for all users. Scammers are poised and ready to exploit this and tell victims they need to pay for these new cards. These cards are free and anyone calling or soliciting you otherwise is not acting on behalf of Medicare. If Social Security has your current mailing address, you’ll be receiving your new card, free of charge, in the mail. Your card should arrive any time between April of 2018 and April of 2019.
Your Grandchild is in Trouble
It starts with a phone call from a frantic, youthful voice telling you your grandchild is in trouble. Many unsuspecting seniors will immediately get concerned and start to unwittingly give the caller information by asking a series of questions. Then an adult voice comes on the line claiming to be an attorney for the grandchild, but in reality it’s a more sophisticated scammer who is adept at retrieving more information and preying on your fear by telling you he’ll represent your grandchild and get them out of jail, defend him in court etc. You might be told to wire money to a specific location and not to tell other family members about this or further harm will come to your grandchild. These are telltale signs of a very popular scam that is originating about of Russia. The Federal Trade Commission warns that if someone instructs you to pay for something involving your grandchild, a charitable donation or disaster relief via money wiring, loading money on a gift or cash card – this is a scam.
AARP Foundation ElderWatch has established a website that provides additional information and tools to protect consumers against financial exploitation. For more information visit: AARP Elder Watch . To report fraud or financial exploitation, call AARP Elder Watch at 1-800-222-4444, option 2.