Senior citizens living on a fixed income stand to lose a lot when targeted by scammers. But Better Business Bureau® serving Eastern Oklahoma has some good news. Scammers are not biased; they target all age groups. The 2016 BBB Risk Report discovered that out of the Top 10 Scams, seniors were the most susceptible age group to only one of the scams.
Scammers prey on seniors because they are more likely to have savings and, if retired, a consistent source of income. Retirees are also more likely to be at home allowing scammers to target them via the phone. The primary contact method for each of the top three scams that affect seniors is by phone.
1. Family/Friends Emergency
How it works: Scammers impersonate a friend of family member and claim to have some emergency that requires your financial help to resolve. Targets are contacted via phone and email. These imposters often do their homework, researching personal details on social media. You can guard against this scam by:
Find more BBB information on Emergency Scams here.
2. Sweepstakes / Lottery Prizes
How it works: Targets are informed that they have won a prize of some sort but before they can collect their winnings they must pay a fee (taxes or shipping and handling) upfront. Unfortunately once the money has been sent the winnings never materialize. Some scams include receiving a fake check and a request for you to return some of the funds to cover fees. You can guard against this scam by:
Find more BBB information on Sweepstakes, Lottery and Prize Scams here.
3. Travel Vacations
How it works: Scammers will target vacationers by posting listings for vacation rental properties that either don't exist, are not for rent, or are very different than advertised. Many individuals will pay either in full or a deposit before their holiday. Once they arrive at the given address, they realize they have been conned. You can guard against this scam by:
Find more BBB information on Travel and Vacation Scams here.
The data collected in the 2016 BBB Risk Report shows a decreased susceptibility to scams as you get older. Only 12-percent of those exposed to scams of 65-years of age and older lost money. Compare that to the 37-percent of 18 to 24-year olds who lose money when they come in contact with a scam. However, as mentioned at the outset of this article, senior citizens often have more to lose. The 65 plus age range had a median loss of $390. The best way to fight back against con-artists is to arm yourself with knowledge.
Find more information on scams at BBB Scam Tips.
If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, report it to: