Many of us have someone in our lives who is older and wiser. It could be a grandparent or even a parent. This person might be retired and focused on enjoying life. The last thing he or she should have to think about is being a target for fraud.
Unfortunately, many seniors across New York are the targets of scams. It can be important for loved ones to be aware of these efforts so they can protect potential fraud victims.
4 types of scams and what seniors can do
Some of the scams elderly people can fall victim to include:
- Telemarketing fraud– This type of scam involves parties calling seniors and trying to offer them phony services or products. Seniors should never buy anything over the phone, and they should never give out personal information over the phone.
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS) fraud– IRS fraud occurs when someone pretends to call from the IRS and says the person owes them money. Remind loved ones that the IRS would send an official letter if there were legitimate tax concerns.
- Grandparent scam– A grandparent scam involves someone pretending to be a grandchild, saying they are in trouble and asking for money. To avoid this, grandparents can ask questions that only their grandchild would know, like the name of their first pet. Another suggestion is to get off the phone and call back the family member who supposedly called.
- Medicare fraud– Medicare scams involve someone pretending to be a Medicare representative to get personal information. They can then use that information to bill Medicare and take the money. Instruct loved ones to only provide medical information to legitimate, known care providers.
Unfortunately, people target millions of older Americans every year through these types of scams. According to a Report by True Link Financial on Elder Financial Abuse 2015, seniors lose more than $36 billion annually to fraud.
In other words, it is a big problem. Family members can protect a vulnerable senior by knowing about these types of fraud and discussing ways to avoid them.
It can also be wise to discuss issues like powers of attorney with a senior loved one. This can ensure someone has visibility into his or her finances and can more easily spot troubling activity.