Seniors Are Being Targeted With Fraud!

fraud security for seniors

The people at this senior online and print magazine want you to imagine this scenario: You get an important message from your financial institution seeking to verify you have transferred hundreds of dollars to a dummy organization made to look like the IRS or some other agency you believed was legitimate just a day or two before. You were certain that you had “fixed” whatever issue you had over the phone by providing the friendly representative with personal and financial information on the spot.

You thought you had done the right thing and would not have to worry about this issue again. You now realize, unfortunately, that you fell for a scam and are now one of the thousands of victims specifically being targeted because of age. Seniors and retirees fall prey to fraudsters each day and sometimes it’s not just a few hundred dollars that is lost – in many cases it can be thousands of dollars. It is estimated that over $40B is stolen from the senior and retiree communities each year.

senior using laptop

Here are some things to look out for when identifying a scam by phone or online:

  • In the world of Public Health, contact tracers are individuals that will reach out to you unsolicited by phone, text, and email to determine whether you have been in contact with a person that may be carrying an infectious disease or illness. During the pandemic, this allowed many fraudsters to steal information from unsuspecting individuals.

    You should know that contact tracers will never ask for money in any form (credit card, gift card, bank account, etc.). They will never ask for your social security, Medicare, or Medicaid numbers. They will also never ask you to fill out forms via email or links as they may come with malware that can steal your personal and financial information from your computer or phone.
  • Grandparent scams are becoming more popular each year. They are carried out by phone, text, or email and usually involve a relative (usually a grandchild, nephew, or niece) requesting emergency financial assistance for legal, medical, educational, rental, and even automotive support among other situations.

    In many cases, these fraudsters have your name and basic information regarding family information to convince you within a few minutes that they are who they claim and will instruct you on how you can help by transferring money you will never see again. It’s a good idea to hang up and call back using the contact information they provide. It is also essential you check with another family member to verify that what you are being told is true.
  • SPAM Emails (Sweepstakes and Lottery Winners, Cost Savings, etc.). One of the biggest reasons scammers target seniors and retirees is that people in these communities may feel disconnected from friends and family and are more likely to engage with fraudsters. People who are less technically savvy are also willing to take the “authoritative” advice that comes from scammers on the other end.

    Seniors and retirees should be leery of “exciting news” that promises them windfalls of cash. Many scams ask potential victims to pay a fee to collect on winnings. Scammers often take blind guesses and assume their victims are on fixed incomes and would quickly jump at the opportunity to save money on prescription medications, bank loans, and more if they are told they are lucky winners of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

senior against fraud

If you feel you are a victim of a scam, you are encouraged to do the following: 1) file an incident report with your local police precinct or Florida’s attorney general. Get the incident on record to help with the investigation process. Most financial institutions are willing to work with law enforcement to ensure both sides have as much information as possible to prevent future crimes committed by those involved and will expedite any claims you have in your favor, and 2) File a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and/or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Both organizations share reports with law enforcement partners to facilitate investigations that help you and hundreds of seniors and retirees that can also fall victim to sophisticated phone and online scams targeting the senior and retiree communities.

OurSeniors.Net has been serving the senior and retiree communities in Florida with valuable senior living resources since 2016. Each quarter, we distribute a senior publication tailored to different regions in the state and regularly publish informative articles in our senior online magazine. Starting in October, we will publish a bilingual edition of our print magazine for the Southeast region and will eventually expand to provide bilingual editions for all the other regions we serve. We encourage our readers to subscribe and donate to assist us in our efforts to provide entertaining and helpful content to senior and retiree communities throughout our great state.