With the gradual loss of the physical health they enjoyed when young – sometimes accompanied by mental health issues as well – elderly Americans are keenly aware of their heightened vulnerability.
One way they may be able to guard themselves against the schemes of various scammers is by education.
Keeping seniors abreast of the latest scams is a constant goal of the Better Business Bureau.
The combination of Social Security income and a lifetime of savings and investment plans can put seniors on the radar of scammers. Factor in the value of their homes, often paid off by the time they reach retirement age, and you have a population that looks especially attractive to scam perpetrators.
The elderly tend to be home during the day as well. That’s the prime operating time for scammers.
Additionally, seniors may be more willing than some to listen to the pitch of a scammer. This is an instance in which their good manners may work against their own best interest.
Some older consumers find it difficult to hang up on a fast-talking pitchman, though this is exactly what they ought to do.
Here are some current scams being used to target seniors:
Sometimes the caller claims the device is free but wants your personal information before they can send it. Be advised that legitimate companies do not use such techniques.
Many of these scams reportedly originate in Jamaica. A caller will claim the victim owes fees or taxes in order to collect their winnings.
The perpetrators of these scams have been known to be extremely pushy. They may go onto Google Maps and find photos of the victim’s home, using that information to scare seniors by making it seem that they are being stalked.
A call claims to be from a loved one who is in a foreign country and has been arrested. They supposedly need emergency money and don’t want their parents to have knowledge of it, so want it kept secret. Money is to be sent by wire transfer.
Thousands of dollars have been lost to scammers through this old favorite scam.
The BBB has a phone line just for seniors who want to report a scam or ask about a suspicious scam attempt. The BBB Senior Line number is 877-637-3334. Another helpful resource can be found online at bbb.org/scam-stopper.