Don’t Fall for This Scam Involving Doctored Credentials

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Seniors are frequently targets of scammers who attempt to exploit their vulnerabilities. One popular scam that has been making the rounds lately is an impersonation scam involving doctored credentials.

How Does the Impersonation Scam Work?

The Social Security Matters Blog warns of the rise of this scam. How does it work? The scammer will contact the senior by phone, email, or even in person. They will then claim to be from a government agency or another credible source. The scammer may say that they need to verify the senior’s Social Security number or other personal information, or that they need to pay money to resolve an issue or receive a monetary reward of some kind.

It’s important to know that no government agency or credible source will ever contact a citizen and ask for personal information over the phone or via email.

If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from a government agency, do not give them any information. Instead, hang up the phone or delete the email. If you are contacted in person, ask to see their credentials. If they do not have any credentials, or if their credentials look fake or doctored in any way, do not give them any information.

The Seniors Center Blog

The Seniors Center Blog is here to warn you about this and other scams that target seniors. Stay informed and stay safe—and be to follow The Seniors Center on Twitter and Facebook for our latest updates!

VIDEO: Former FBI Director’s Response to Being Targeted by Scammers

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Even our nation’s top law enforcement officials can be the targets of elder fraud.

In 2021 alone, more than 92,000 seniors were victims of elder fraud. And one scammer picked an unfortunate target: the former director of the FBI and his wife. Watch below to see how former FBI Director William Webster and his wife Lynda handled a scammer who took it a step further by threatening violence.

While not every senior has the same connections as former members of the FBI, everyone can learn from how he and his wife handled this situation. They shut down the scammer and reached out for help right away.

Lynda advocates for a community approach to end elder fraud. “The younger people have to keep an eye on mom or dad or an elderly neighbor,” CBS News quotes her as saying. Checking in on elderly friends or neighbors can help protect them from scams.

Never give out personal information, no matter how benign it may seem. Even something as seemingly innocuous as your birthday can be used to scam you. Be especially wary of anyone who contacts you out of the blue, whether it’s by phone, text, email, or in person.

If you think you’ve been the victim of elder fraud, reach out to your local law enforcement or the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

The Seniors Center is committed to helping seniors stay safe from elder fraud. Keep up with our latest updates by following us on Twitter and Facebook today!

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How a Massachusetts Woman Stole from Residents in Senior Living Facilities

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Scams targeting seniors are always heartless. But one of the worst ways that criminals attempt to steal from seniors is by first posing as a trusted helper.

That’s exactly what happened recently at a senior living facility in Massachusetts, where a woman posing as a nurse’s aid was caught stealing precious valuables and money from residents.

According to AP News, the woman had personal checks, valuables, and ID cards from a number of senior living communities. By targeting individuals in senior living with dementia, she was able to steal without anyone noticing.

Seniors can stay safe by being wary of anyone asking for sensitive information. While scammers will continue to pose as helpful professionals, being alert and aware of your surroundings is important.

The Seniors Center is working to educate and inform seniors to help them stay safe. From senior scams to Social Security, we have the latest information on what seniors need to know. Visit our website for more information.

To find out more about what you can do to protect yourself or your loved ones, visit our website—or follow us on Twitter and Facebook so you never miss an update.

Stay Safe from Fraudulent Check Schemes

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When looking at the different ways that scam artists target seniors, it’s easy to focus on the ones that lure victims in with emotional appeals. Grandparent and sweetheart scams are both examples of this. But there’s another type of scam that’s just as dangerous, if not more so — the fraudulent check scheme.

How One Las Vegas Man Swindled Seniors Out of Millions

One recent example of an especially insidious fraudulent check scheme took place in Las Vegas. A 76-year-old resident of the city, Michael Zeto, was discovered to be stealing money from other seniors’ bank accounts by depositing fraudulent checks.

He first purchased the names and bank account information of senior citizens from foreign telemarketers. He created checks in their names and deposited them into his own business accounts. Zeto has since been caught, however, and faces many years in prison for this form of fraud.

Stay Safe from Fraudulent Check Schemes

Fraudulent check schemes are just one of the many ways that scam artists target seniors. But there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

The most important thing is to be aware of the signs of fraud. If someone you don’t know asks you to deposit a check for them, be very suspicious. Never give out your bank account information to someone you don’t know.

You should also keep a close eye on your bank account. Check your statements regularly and report any suspicious activity to your bank immediately. If you do become the victim of fraud, be sure to contact the police so they can catch the person responsible.

By following these simple steps, you can help keep yourself safe from fraudulent check schemes and other types of scams. At The Seniors Center, we’re helping seniors stay safe — and providing helpful information about Social Security and other issues impacting older Americans. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to learn more!

Watch Out for Phishing Scams—This One Almost Fooled Keith Hernandez

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Phishing scams are becoming more and more sophisticated—so much so that even a savvy guy like Keith Hernandez almost fell for one.

What Are Phishing Scams?

Phishing scams are a type of fraud where scammers send emails or texts that look like they’re from a legitimate company in an attempt to get you to share personal information like your Social Security number, credit card number, or bank account login information.

They might also try to get you to download software that will give them access to your computer or device.

Once they have this information, they can use it to commit identity theft or financial fraud.

Hernandez, a former MLB player and current broadcaster for the New York Mets, recently shared his story of how he almost fell victim to a phishing scam. He received an email that looked very official, purporting to be from Florida Power & Light, saying he needed to pay them a deposit or his power would be shut off.

The email looked legitimate at first glance, and he even called the number they gave him. But luckily, he called his bank before he gave them any of his personal information.

This incident is a reminder that we all need to be careful about the emails we open and click on. If you’re ever unsure about the legitimacy of an email, it’s best to err on the side of caution and not click on any links or attachments.

Stay Safe from Scams

If you think you may have been the victim of a phishing scam, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission. You can also learn more about how to protect yourself from these types of scams by keeping up with The Seniors Center‘s latest posts.

Gift Card Scams Swindle Seniors Out of Millions

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Many seniors are aware of the most common forms of fraud targeting older adults, like romance scams and grandparent scams. However, scam artists are always coming up with new ways to attempt to steal money from hardworking Americans. Gift card scams, in which scam artists use tech support to weasel their way into seniors’ lives, have conned some individuals out of all they have.

One Woman’s Gift Card Scams Story

AARP has reported extensively on different forms of fraud targeting seniors, including gift card scams. One woman interviewed, a former teacher, spent $45,000 on gift cards over the course of three days. She was targeted by two individuals: one posing as an American Express employee, the other pretending to be a Microsoft tech support agent.

These individuals claimed that they could see illicit purchases made by the woman online and that there was a warrant out for her arrest. For them to help her, she would need to purchase them gift cards to the tune of five figures.

It was only once the ordeal was over that the former teacher realized she had been the victim of a scam. Now, working with the police, the FBI, and her credit card company, she’s making an effort to get back what she’s lost.

Staying Safe

How can you avoid falling victim to this scam? First, know that no legitimate company or government agency will ask you to pay them in gift cards.

Additionally, pop-ups on your computer purporting to be from Microsoft can be a form of fraud. When in doubt, reach out to your credit card company or tech support agency directly rather than calling the number the pop-up provides.

The Seniors Center Blog is here to keep seniors informed about the forms of fraud targeting older Americans. We invite you to learn more about The Seniors Center today. Then, keep up with The Seniors Center on Twitter and Facebook so you never miss a post.

Spotting the Signs of Elder Abuse

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For older adults, elder abuse is a serious problem. According to the National Institute on Aging, many older adults experience abuse each year. Elder abuse can happen to anyone and can be at the hands of a family member, friend, or caregiver. Because of this, it’s important to know the signs of elder abuse and know what to do if you suspect someone you know is a victim of abuse.

What are the Warning Signs?

There are many indications of possible elder abuse. However, some of the more common ones include:

  • Unexplained bruises or injuries
  • Unusual changes in mood or behavior
  • Withdrawing from activities or social interactions
  • Sudden changes in financial status or activity
  • A caregiver who is overly controlling or demanding

If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, it’s important to reach out and offer help. You can contact a local elder abuse hotline or the police to report your concerns.

Sharing the signs of elder abuse can also help to educate others and prevent abuse from happening in the first place. Share what you’ve learned on social media or with your friends and family to help raise awareness.

The Seniors Center is here to support seniors by raising awareness of elder abuse and other forms of fraud and abuse targeting seniors.

How The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act Will Help Older Americans

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Too often, the tactics used to put an end to scams targeting seniors only work once fraud or abuse has taken place. It’s more difficult to prevent fraud in the first place. However, a new law, The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act, could help.

What is The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act?

Just last week, President Biden signed the bill into law, according to reporting from CBS affiliate WGME. The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act enjoys bipartisan support and exists to protect senior citizens from becoming victims of scams in the first place. The act provides for a new office within the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that will work to root out scams and provide education for vulnerable seniors.

A few of the provisions of the act include:

  • Enhanced fraud monitoring
  • Increased consumer education on scams and forms of fraud
  • A stronger complaint tracking system at the Federal Trade Commission

These efforts can help protect seniors from fraud, but avoiding falling for a scam involves vigilance as well. If you suspect that you are being targeted in a scam, report it to the FTC right away.

The Seniors Center works to serve as a resource to older Americans by educating our readers on fraud, scams, and issues surrounding Social Security. Stay up-to-date on our latest posts by following The Seniors Center on Twitter and Facebook today!

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VIDEO: The FBI Warns Seniors About Common Scams

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Many scam artists target elderly Americans. They can be attractive targets because many seniors have retirement savings or own their own homes, resources that are valuable to scammers. The FBI works to take down scam artists, but relies on tips and insight from everyday American seniors to find out what common scams are causing problems.

This video from the FBI details how a former director of the agency was targeted by a scam and how he and his wife were able to take down the scam artist. Their article also gives seniors insight into how they can spot and report fraud.

Common Scams Targeting Seniors

According to the FBI, of the most common senior scams include:

  • Lottery scams – Be wary of anyone contacting you claiming that you have won money
  • Caregiver or guardianship scams – These insidious forms of fraud take advantage of seniors when they are most vulnerable
  • Tech support scams – Giving out passwords or access to devices can allow scam artists to steal personal information or money

If you suspect that you’re being targeted by a scam artist, you can use the FBI Tip Form to report your findings. Giving as much detail as possible can help the agency track down bad actors.

The Seniors Center is committed to keeping seniors safe online. Learn more about our mission today—and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more updates!

Ways to Stay Protected from Guardianship Fraud and Abuse

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Guardianships are often put in place to help support and protect seniors who have advanced memory issues or other concerns that make independence possible. While these can be helpful for those who have loved ones in charge of the guardianships, there is also a possibility for guardianship fraud and abuse.

A recent piece by U.S. Representative Charlie Crist of Florida details some of the forms this fraud can take and ways that seniors can stay protected.

Since guardianships control finances, living arrangements, and medical decisions, having the wrong hands in charge can be disastrous for seniors. Guardianship fraud and abuse can involve taking funds from seniors, including their Social Security benefits and retirement savings.

A few ways to protect yourself or a loved one include:

  • Create power of attorney documents – These will ensure that only someone you trust can make important decisions for you
  • Talk with a lawyer – Have a lawyer look over any important documents, like a living will
  • Call on Congress to pass legislation – Ask you representatives to pass legislation protecting seniors

Taking these steps can help you stay protected against guardianship fraud and abuse.

At The Seniors Center Blog, we’re helping seniors stay safe in retirement. Learn more about the scams that target retirees today—and follow The Seniors Center on Twitter and Facebook for more updates!