Elderly people, especially widows, are commonly targeted by scammers because they are vulnerable and unfamiliar with the complications that come with new technology systems and scams. Whether these are in person, over the phone, or online, the people being targeted and their family members need to be aware of the ways in which scammers are tricking everyday people into handing over their money to fraudulent scammers.
Medicare/Medicaid: This tactic is most commonly done over the phone or in person. What to look out for? Scammers will ask for your social security number, tell you that you need a new supplemental policy, or ask you to pay a fee in relation to Obamacare. A call of this importance will not randomly occur over the phone but rather in person or potentially through the mail.
IRS Phone Call: One of the phone scams that occurs the most is a call from the IRS demanding money. The first time an IRS agent contacts you will not be through the phone. The first contact would be an official correspondence that was mailed to you. The IRS will never ask for debit/credit card information over the phone. Unless you receive official documentation from the IRS through the mail, hang up the phone immediately.
Homeowner Scams: This scam is predicted to become more common in the years to come. Fake contractors will come by elderly peoples’ homes and offer to do small jobs for them such as gutter cleaning or lawn mowing. After they gain some trust, they will start making up more expensive jobs and overcharge their client for work that doesn’t need to be done.
Whether you are trying to educate yourself or you are trying to protect the elderly from financial scams, it is always important to know and be able to recognize when scams are occurring. In all cases, don’t be afraid to hang up the phone, close your front door, or tell somebody “no”.