Fraud targeting senior citizens is a growing concern as millions have fallen victim to scammers. BBB encourages families to keep the lines of communication open with their elders regarding finances and to recognize some common cons targeting senior citizens.
Having a serious conversation with senior citizens about how they are managing their money is not easy, but is vital in helping them to keep from falling victim to unscrupulous crooks. It is important to keep the lines of communication open so that you can identify suspicious spending habits and helping elder family members recognize the red flags of common rip-offs.
BBB warns against the following scams that commonly target senior citizens:
Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams –Typically, the victim receives a letter in the mail stating they have won a lottery or sweepstakes. The letter instructs the victim to deposit an enclosed check and then wire a portion back to the company to cover taxes or administration fees. The victim is out whatever they wired back to the scammers—often amounting to thousands of dollars.
Medicare Scams – Navigating the Medicare system isn’t easy and some scammers will look for any opportunity to take advantage of the confusion. Commonly, a scammer will claim to be with Medicare and ask for personal information such as Medicare, Medicaid, social security, credit card or bank account numbers. The victim might be given any number of excuses and are tricked into providing this information.
Bereavement Scams – Scammers will often try to take advantage of the increased vulnerability of senior citizens who have recently lost a loved one, such as a spouse. Some even go so low as to search for victims in the obituaries.
Deceptive Professionals – While many scams targeting senior citizens might not have a face, some scammers will be invited in the front door including technicians, contractors, chimney sweeps, air duct cleaners and other services. Some professionals will lie about the extent of the problem or claim safety issues and then inflate prices for unsuspecting senior customers.
For more advice on avoiding scams and fraud visit: www.bbb.org/us/consumer-tips-scams/ To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, please call the BBB Hotline: (903)581-8373.