Contributed by Lucy Baines, Consumer Champion

Scammers are a big problem today. These scams target all Americans. One of the most vulnerable populations is the elderly. Elderly individuals tend to have savings accounts and retirement plans, which scammers try to embezzle. Due to time constraints, many seniors aren’t as familiar with tech and smart devices as their younger cohorts and this makes them easy targets.

It is a very common tactic for scammers to pose as someone looking for help. The scammers are usually looking for people who would like to help others. Then, they rope in their victims by telling them different heartbreaking stories. Finally, they take that person’s money and disappear, never to be seen again.

Some scams are performed through e-mail. Others use phone calls. Even those who show up at the front door might be part of a scam. They steal credit cards, pose as charities, and more. For this reason, everyone needs to know about these scams. There are a few important points to keep in mind.

Common Tactics of Scammers Used on Seniors

Con artists and scammers use a few common strategies to take advantage of senior citizens. Sadly, these techniques often work. Some of the common strategies that people use include:

  • They will appear friendly. They might even ask for help. They are going to have a smile on their face. This is done to make the senior citizen lower his or her guard. Elderly individuals are often eager to interact with others. They may even want to help the person.
  • Then, the individual will instill a sense of urgency. This is done to eliminate any time to think. This will prevent the elderly person from assessing the situation. This prevents rational thought from turning the person down.
  • The individual will then ask for a favor. They might even make the elderly person feel like something is owed. Then, the elderly person is more likely to say yes.
  • The scammer will try to inject emotion into the conversation. When emotion is used, this makes it harder to think clearly. People are more likely to say yes or buy something when they feel emotional.
  • Often, these scammers are going to change the subject throughout. The story will continue to evolve. This is done to distract the victim. Elderly people often have a hard time connecting the dots.
  • Finally, the scammer will pose as a fake company. They may say they’re with the government. They might pretend to be a charity.

These are a few of the common strategies scammers will use. Fortunately, there are professionals who track these common scams.

Health Insurance Scams

One of the most common scams involves health insurance. All elderly individuals quality for Medicare once they reach 65. Therefore, most elderly people are on the same insurance policy. This makes them easy targets for health insurance scammers. The scammers do not have to do a lot of research on someone’s insurance policy. This means they can carry out their scams over the phone or at the door. The scammer will claim to be from Medicare when he or she arrives. Some of the common strategies include:

  • The scammer will say the victim needs a new Medicare card.
  • The scammer may also say that the elderly individual needs to provide his or her social security number.
  • The scammer will try to sell a supplemental policy. This policy will be fake.
  • The scammer will try to collect the victim’s personal information. Then, the scammer can bill that person’s policy using his or her name.

These are only a few of the numerous strategies that a scammer may use. Health insurance scams involving the elderly are common.

Telemarketing Scams

Another common scheme takes place involving senior citizens involves telemarketing. There isn’t a face to face interaction. This means the scammer can pose as an authority figure. Some of the common schemes include:

  • The scammer will offer free trials.
  • He or she may offer a chance at a free vacation.
  • The scammer may try to sell an extended warranty.
  • He or she may offer a “can’t-miss” investment option.
  • The scammer may provide an “advance loan.”
  • These individuals may pretend to be from the IRS or the bank.

It is important for everyone to know who they are talking to when they answer the phone.

Protect Against Scams

These are only a few of the many examples of scam schemes. There are lots of fraud and scam organizations out there. Knowledge is power. Elderly individuals need to educate themselves on these common issues. Their loved ones also need to keep a watchful eye. When these schemes work, the individuals in play often disappear. Once these individuals get what they want, they are nearly impossible to find. This means that those who lose their money through these schemes may never get it back. Always keep a close eye on what is happening. A scam might unfold at any time.

Also, if you would like to find more helpful resources like this, please visit Consumer Champion.

Source:  Consumer Campion. https://consumer-champion.org