2 Financial Scams in 2022 Targeting Older and Elderly Adults
Financial scams targeting older adults are costly, widespread, and on the rise. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in 2021 there were 92,371 older victims of fraud resulting in $1.7 billion in losses. This was a 74% increase in losses compared to 2020.
Why Financial Scammers Target Older Adults
Financial Scammers tend to go after older adults for several reasons. One reason is they believe they are an easier target. Another reason is because they believe older adults have more money. But it’s not just wealthy older Americans who are targeted. Older adults in a wide range of income brackets are also at risk for fraud.
Financial scams often go unreported or can be tough to prosecute, so they’re viewed as a “low-risk” crime. However, they’re devastating to the victims of financial scams and can leave them vulnerable, with limited to no ability to recover their losses.
How common are financial scams targeting older adults?
In the five-year period ending December 31, 2020, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging Fraud Hotline received more than 8,000 complaints nationwide.
Here are 2 Financial Scams Targeting Older and Elderly Adults
Government Impersonation Scams
A government impersonation scams (these scams are also known as ‘government imposter’ scams), scammers call unsuspecting older adults and pretend to be from a government agency. These scams have included:
- Internal Revenue Service
- Social Security Administration
An aggressive claim is often a part of the call claiming the victim has;
- unpaid taxes and needs to pay immediately or provide personal information
- threaten arrest or deportation if they don’t pay up immediately
- claim Social Security benefits will be cut off
- they will claim Medicare benefits will be cut off if the victim doesn’t provide personal identifying information
If personal information can then be used to commit identity theft.
Government imposters may demand specific forms of payment, such as a prepaid debit card, cash, or wire transfer.
Using special VOIP (Voice Over IP) technology, they often “spoof” the actual phone number of a government agency or call from the same zip code (202 for Washington, D.C., for example).
This can trick some people into thinking the caller is from a valid source.
**A valid government agency will NEVER call you asking for money or personal information. In the case of these agencies they often have that information to start with and would have no need to call to ask for it.**
Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams
One scam targeting older adults includes receiving a call, email, text or letter telling you that you’ve won a prize or can enter into a sweepstake to win a money prize.
Scammers may impersonate well-known sweepstakes organizations (like Publishers Clearing House) to build trust among their victims.
The scammers will often tell you that you need to pay a processing fee or that personal identifying information is required upfront.
They’ll keep the payment and any of your personal information and you won’t get anything in return. Additional fraud can happen later if your information is not secured and any credit or debit card details are not cancelled.
In-Home Care Can Help Protect Your Elderly Loved Ones from Scams
While scammers often use different premises and tactics when targeting victims, a few basic practices can help keep you safe. In-Home care can help your elderly loved one with this by providing companionship and guidance in everyday living activities.
Share these with friends and family members as well, as they can help protect people of all ages:
- Be wary of anything that seems too good. Free medical care or a wealthy love interest can all seem great. But if it feels like you just won the jackpot, you may want to step back and reevaluate the situation. You can also always ask friends and family members for their opinions.
- Watch out for incoming communications. Scammers can make phone calls and emails that look like they’re coming from legitimate companies and government organizations. In-Home Care can assist with this by helping you sort out which communications are legitimate and which ones may be spoofed or fake.
- Add extra security to your Smartphone and online accounts. A family member or trusted friend can help you set up additional security to online accounts. Many online accounts let you turn on multifactor authentication. You may then need to enter a code that’s sent to your phone or email, or that you generate with an app, before accessing your account. Enabling this extra security measure can keep scammers out of your accounts even if they get hold of your username and password.
- Avoid odd payment types. Scammers will often ask you to send them money with a wire transfer, money order, cryptocurrency, payment app or gift card. These can all be red flags that you’re talking to a criminal. Legitimate organizations will not be asking you for
If a scammer tricks you into sharing information or handing over money, you can report the fraud to the FTC on ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Depending on what happened, you may also want to file a police report or get a personalized recovery plan from the FTC using IdentityTheft.gov.
Alliance Senior Care Services are an excellent resource for family caregivers and seniors alike.
Alliance Senior Care’s In-Home services offer a wide range of services providing healthcare, daily living assistance, transportation to and from Doctor’s appointments and tailored care services for additional circumstances.
To learn more about how In-Home Care can help improve your loved ones’ quality of life, call Alliance Senior Care at 248-274-2170. It’s not just In-Home Care, it is Integrated Care.
Home Care Services are an excellent resource for family caregivers and seniors alike.
Alliance Senior Care Home Care services offer a wide range of services providing healthcare, daily living assistance, transportation to and from Doctor’s appointments and tailored care services for additional circumstances.