Why Scammers Target the Elderly
The elderly are targeted so much by scammers because they likely have a retirement or social security fund and are not as mentally sharp or technology-literate as a younger person. This makes them easier to scare and take advantage of in the modern world. Unscrupulous people try to take advantage of seniors in several ways, and here are the top 5 scams to watch out for:
1. Fake IRS Messages Scammers
use email and phone calls to pose as fake IRS agents in an attempt to scare people into giving up crucial information or sending money. They often accuse the recipient of not paying their taxes and threaten them with punishment or jail time. The elderly are often fooled by the fake IRS agents and end up with stolen identity information or missing money. The real IRS never contacts people via phone, email or social media, so any message from the IRS over these communication systems is a scam.
2. Fake Medicare Messages
Within the year of 2018-2019, new Medicare cards are being mailed to all recipients. These cards will no longer have the recipients' social security number but will provide a random number for the new system. Scammers are taking advantage of this by calling Medicare beneficiaries and demanding payment for their new Medicare cards. Any phone call or email that asks for money for a new card is a scam because Medicare is issuing these new cars for free in every state.
3. Home Invasions Scams
Some unscrupulous people go door to door posing as repairmen for water, electrical or some other utility. They arrive with an apprentice or assistant and show official-looking paperwork and identification. Once again this is playing to a seniors' fear that one of their utilities is down or they are in danger of gas leaks or electrical accidents. While the “repairman” is distracting the homeowner, the apprentice burglarizes the home and steals valuables and money. These home invasions can happen in as little as ten minutes. Seniors should be wary of any servicemen they or a relative haven't called for.
4. Posing as A Relative
These scams are especially horrible because they play on the fear a senior has for the safety of their loved ones. The scammers get a hold of a senior's telephone number and pretend to be a relative or a friend of a relative who is hurt or in trouble. Of course, the only way to bail this “relative” out of trouble is to send money in some form, either by wire, PayPal, and sometimes even ridiculous requests like iTunes gift cards.
5. Investment Scams
Because older people are saving their money and planning for retirement, they are targeted by scammers who take advantage of their need to save for when they no longer have a job. Whether it's a pyramid scheme or a dodgy email investment, these people are looking to drain social security and retirement from innocent people. Be wary of investments that seem too good to be true or have no public data available. And never invest in something presented over email.
For more help on keeping your money safe as you near retirement or feel you need to plan better for retirement, check out more articles from the Retirement Planning Store!
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