First appeared on Maui Now
Although everyone is at risk for scams, seniors are particularly vulnerable. Hawai‘i’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) wants seniors to be aware of five common scams and what they can do to protect themselves.
Sweepstakes Scams: Whether it be a desire to help out a family member or save up for unexpected medical emergencies, who couldn’t use a little extra money? Scammers play off of these emotions in this scam. A scammer will notify a senior that they have won some sort of sweepstakes or lottery and tell them that they must pay a small fee or the taxes associated with the win, to receive their money. Anyone who receives a call such as this should hang up and keep in mind that they cannot win something that they did not enter. This year alone, Hawai‘i’s BBB has received nearly 130 reports of sweepstakes and lottery scams via the BBB Scam Tracker.
Healthcare Scams: Ranging from billing to Medicare agents, seniors are seen as an easy target for medical and healthcare scams. As a whole, elderly adults receive more frequent health care visits, meaning threatening callers posing as a billing clerk are more likely to be believable. Also, at 65, a person automatically becomes eligible for Medicare, making it easier for scammers to know who to target. Healthcare scams are not only a financial risk for the victims, but also a privacy risk. If anyone receives a call claiming to be a representative from a hospital, a doctor, billing or Medicare, they should immediately contact their provider and be sure to never give out personal details over the phone if they cannot be 100% certain of the identity or the caller. There have been seven reports of healthcare scams to Hawaii’s BBB this year.