Scams Targeting our Parents

Did you know that older Americans are targeted more frequently than any other age group?  Generally speaking, older people are more trusting and have the potential of significant money sitting in their bank accounts.

Financial scams aimed at seniors have become so prevalent that they are now considered, ‘The Crime of the 21st Century’.  Financial scams often go unreported or can be difficult to prosecute , so they are considered a ‘Low Risk’  crime.  However , they can be devastating to many older adults and can leave them in a very vulnerable position with little time to recoup their losses.

There’s no reason to worry, but be careful, illegal schemes are all around us.

Be aware of health care scams.  Every U.S. Citizen over the age of 65 qualifies for Medicare, so perpetrators may pose as a Medicare representative to get older people to give them personal information.  Seniors should be reminded to never give their personal information over the phone to anyone that calls requesting it.

Here’s another health scam, counterfeit drug schemes operating on the internet.  The con artists offer medicine at a very low price but you may be paying for something that can cause you harm.  This scam can be hard on the body as well as the wallet.

The FBI warns about a funeral scam where the criminal will read obituaries and will call a grieving widow or widower and claim the deceased had an outstanding debt with them.  Never wire money to someone you don’t know.

There are a number of telemarketing scams older Americans should be aware of as well .  The so called, ‘Pigeon Drop’ involves the caller telling the individual that he or she has found a large sum of money and is willing to split the money if the person will make a “Good Faith” payment by withdrawing funds from his or her bank account.  You should never have to pay money to get money.

Remind the seniors in your life to never give out their personal information over the phone.  And if they aren’t sure about a call or a letter they receive, they should call you or have the caller call you.

Find more consumer protection at www.nextavenue.org, or if you think a loved one has been scammed, contact the Ohio Attorney General’s office at 614-466-4986 or visit www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov.

Image courtesy of  Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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