Seniors Lose Billions to Scams Each YearWe have all heard heartbreaking stories where senior citizens have fallen prey to unscrupulous people who manipulate them into paying money only to find out they have been scammed. Unfortunately, there appear to be countless schemes aimed at taking money from senior citizens.  In fact, seniors lose billions of dollars each year to these types of scams. The good news is that by being aware of them, today’s senior can protect themselves and their assets.

Common Senior Citizen Scams

1. Medicare/Health Insurance Fraud

Most seniors are the recipient of Medicare.  As such, a person trying to scam a senior may contact a senior in person or over the phone claiming to be a Medicare representative.  However, these people will usually ask for the victim’s personal information such a social security number.  They may also attempt to sell supplemental policies, or charge a fee for “assisting” them with obtaining benefits.

2. Telephone Scams

A very common ploy of the scam artist is to lie to the victim and say they have a large sum of money to share provided the victim puts down a deposit of their own money to recover the funds.  Another common scam is when the person contacts the victim claiming their loved one is in jail, sick, or injured and needs them to wire money.  Another sign that this may be a scam is when the perpetrator wants you to pay them in gift cards.  It is not advisable to send any funds without confirmation from the relative, jail, hospital or another relative.

3. Counterfeit Prescription Drugs

With the rising costs of prescription drugs, many seniors are seeking to purchase less expensive medications.  Often people try to take advantage of this situation by advertising less costly medicines through email.  However, these medications are most likely fake and could be very harmful.

4. Internet/Lottery/Email Scams

Many people of all ages have received emails from unknown people claiming you have won a lottery you have never heard of or have found a bank account they want to share with you.  They ordinarily ask for an amount to settle “fees” or a deposit to recover the funds.  These emails and internet solicitations are always the work of a scam artist.

5. Charity Scams

When there is a significant disaster scam artists are the first to take advantage of people and their kindness.  These people will call the victim pretending to be from a charitable organization when in truth, there is no affiliation with charity.  To avoid this kind of scam donate through a reputable organization that you know.

6.  Funeral/Cremation Scams

People looking to scam seniors will often read the obituaries and then contact the deceased’s grieving spouse claiming that the deceased owed money to them. Another commons scam is when dishonest funeral home takes advantage of a family in a time of grief by overcharging or adding unneeded services to the bill.  They may also advise the family to purchase an expensive casket for cremation when a cardboard casket is a more appropriate and inexpensive option.

Unfortunately, some unscrupulous people are willing to take advantage of the senior population.  However, being aware of scams and protecting your assets will help you avoid being taken advantage of.  Our office has experience advising seniors how to protect their assets and avoid these situations.  Please contact us online or by phone if we may be of assistance.

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