Financial scams targeting senior citizens have become unfortunately common, because they target a vulnerable population that tends to have more money in their bank accounts. These scams often go unreported and can be very difficult to prosecute, which makes them especially devastating to their victims.
Therefore, it is important that victims are aware of some of the most common financial scams geared toward senior citizens. Please talk with your elderly relatives about scams in the following categories.
Health insurance and Medicare scams
American citizens older than 65 qualify for Medicare, so scammers do not have to conduct any research about the kind of private healthcare older people have if they wish to take their money. In such scams, the perpetrator will often pretend to be a Medicare representative to get their target to give them their personal information. They may also set up makeshift clinics where they provide bogus services and use the information they collect to bill Medicare and keep the money for themselves.
Funeral and burial scams
One of the most common such scams is when a scammer reads an obituary and then calls the funeral home or attends the service of a stranger to attempt to take advantage of the grieving loved ones, claiming to have come to collect on an outstanding debt. In some cases, shady funeral homes will actually commit fraud themselves, adding on unnecessary charges to bills.
One of the most common scams used to target seniors is when scammers conduct fake telemarketing calls to prey on older people, who are significantly more likely than other demographics to make purchases over the phone. These scams are very hard to trace because of the lack of paper trail and personal contact. Once the scammer has the buyer’s information, the buyer’s name will be shared with other scammers.
Common examples of these scams include money being solicited for fake charities, a scammer trying to convince the victim that a loved one is in the hospital and needs money or fake prize winnings.
Elderly people are not as technologically savvy as people of younger generations, and are therefore more susceptible to some common internet scams.
The classic scam is the “Nigerian Prince” style of email, in which a con artist emails a target claiming to have a large sum of money they are willing to split or give to the victim if he or she makes a “good faith” payment to them in return, or delivers credit card/bank account information.
Another common form of internet scam are messages that are made to look like they’re from legitimate companies that ask the senior to “verify” their personal information. Sometimes these messages are made to look like they’re from the IRS.
There are many other types of scams targeting seniors, including investment schemes, fraudulent anti-aging products, reverse mortgage scams, lottery scams and more. For more information, contact an elder law attorney at Baker Law Group, P.C.