If you’re over 60, you’ve likely been targeted by scammers looking to clean out your nest egg. Senior scams come in a variety of formats, but they all can have devastating consequences. By educating yourself, you can avoid becoming a victim.

If you’re over 60, you’ve likely been targeted by scammers looking to clean out your nest egg. Senior scams come in a variety of formats, but they all can have devastating consequences. By educating yourself, you can avoid becoming a victim.

Grandchild Impostors

Any grandparent can sympathize with wanting to help a grandchild in need, and scammers know it. If you receive a call from an individual claiming to be one of your grandchildren in need of money, be sure of the caller’s identity before you send funds.

Someone posing as your grandchild may be very persuasive in attempting to convince you of an emergency situation and the immediate requirement for money. You can protect yourself by placing a quick call to your grandchild’s parent before doing anything.

Fake Prescription Medications

Who doesn’t want to save money on expensive medicines? If an online price for a drug you need seems too good to be true, the drug is likely to be a fake. In fact, many drugs made outside the United States are not authentic, authorities say. In addition, prescriptions from these phony sources do not go through the rigorous safety testing required in this country. Given the risks, it’s best to steer clear.

IRS Telephone Scams

One of the most common scams targeting seniors involves a caller claiming to be an IRS agent trying to collect back taxes. These callers may aggressively threaten suspension of driver’s licenses, going to court and even arrest — which frightens many seniors into agreeing to payment through a wire transfer or other means. If you get such a call, contact the IRS through their official website or phone numbers.

Malicious Telemarketers

Telemarketing scams can involve fake vitamins, unbelievably inexpensive (and probably unreal) vacations and other products to convince you to part with your money. These scams often target single senior women and offer “free” prizes that are not at all free.

Online Deception

As more seniors go online for entertainment, socializing, learning, shopping and banking, more are becoming the targets of internet scams. Online flim-flams come in many forms, including fake “virus-scanning” pop-up windows that try to trick you into downloading a virus. In addition, beware of “phishing,” in which a scammer sends you an email that looks like it’s from a legitimate company seeking your personal information.

Medicare Rip-Offs

Anyone older than 65 qualifies for Medicare, so any scammer can guess that you — as a senior — probably have Medicare coverage. Don’t give out your personal details to anyone posing as a representative of Medicare and offering “free” medical items — which then will be billed to your insurance company.

In another variation, scammers may set up mobile “clinics” for the purpose of getting your information, which they then use to bill Medicare for services they never provide to you.

Many scammers believe seniors have healthy bank accounts, and they’ll do all they can to get your money. Protect yourself by always verifying the identity of callers and using extreme caution online.

Sources:

https://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/seniors

http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/3-8-14-senior-scams-how-to-avoid/

https://www.ncoa.org/economic-security/money-management/scams-security/top-10-scams-targeting-seniors/

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/retirement/fraud-5-scams-aimed-at-the-elderly-1.aspx

https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/irs-warns-of-pervasive-telephone-scam