Sadly, when it comes to scam activity perhaps no group is more susceptible than the elderly. Often vulnerable, senior citizens lose approximately $2.9 billion a year to scams and fraudulent activity.
Education is the first step towards addressing the problem. Knowing what to look for, and how to react when presented with a suspected scam can instantly cut your risk.
Here are a few of the areas to watch for:
Telemarketing scams take many forms. From getting a phone call saying you are on the hook for a lot of money or that there has been a breach of security and you must pay up to save yourself. This type of phone call can throw anyone off their guard. Many will rush to their wallet in order to “save” their account.
It is best to approach a phone call like this with skepticism. Rarely does a legitimate financial institution make a phone call out of the blue demanding money instantly due to some previously unknown circumstance. It just doesn’t happen.
One way to tell that a call like this is a scam is that the person on the other end of the line typically does not have a lot of information to share. They often ask you to read off your credit card or bank account number, typically under the guise of confirming your identity. Real banks and credit card companies never do this.
When in doubt, hang up the phone and call the institution in question directly from a number you know to be true (such as might be printed on the bank of a credit card or on your bank statement). If there is a legitimate issue, they will have all the information you need and can help you.
To put it gently, the older among us tend to lag behind in the computer savvy department. Unfortunately, the internet provides fertile soil for fraudulent activity. From email scams to pop-ups, it can be overwhelming.
Generally, no reputable company will ask for your personal information through e-mail. Stick to trusted, known sites and be wary of any offer that seems too good to be true. It often is. When in doubt, most websites have a customer service support line. If something doesn’t seem right, you can always call a company directly.
Sadly, this may be the most common type of fraud targeting the elderly. Scammers may pose as a Medicare representative and try to obtain personal information for their own gain. A good way to avoid this is to never give out your social security number, credit card number or anything about yourself over the phone or internet.
Health insurance agencies and government offices don’t typically cold call Medicare recipients with offers or information. If you receive a call promising coverage, or low-cost services; it’s likely from an unrepeatable source.
Further Steps to Take
The tips above are a good starting point for anyone looking to protect themselves or a loved one from falling victim to elder scams. If you’re looking for more comprehensive elder care in Philadelphia, contact Personal Health Care today. Our comprehensive case management and home care services help protect your loved ones from harm in more ways than one.
Our staff is trained to be aware of fraudulent attempts and will take action to prevent a scammer from completing their goal. Contact us today and find out about the many ways we work every day to keep your loved ones safe.