Stay Safe from This Senior Scam in 2022

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As 2022 gets underway, retirees across the country are taking a careful look at their finances and making plans for the year. High COLAs for Social Security beneficiaries and new guidelines relating to the COVID-19 pandemic might ease some worries for seniors this year. However, one thing retirees need to keep in mind as they plan for 2022 is how to stay safe from a new senior scam.

How does this scam work? Scammers are targeting Social Security beneficiaries by sending fraudulent letters on official-looking letterheads. According to the Social Security Administration, these letters will ask recipients to call a number to activate their cost-of-living adjustment. However, the SSA cautions that COLAs are automatic. While the scammers might use authentic-sounding names, even the names of real SSA officials, you should be wary of anyone making threats or demands.

What This 2022 Senior Scam Looks Like

What can you do to stay safe? Ignore letters, texts, emails, or calls from anyone who:

  • Demands your personal information
  • Threatens to suspend your SSN or seize your bank account
  • Demands payment, often through gift cards

Have a loved one look over any messaging you find suspicious. And you can report scam attempts to the Social Security Administration so they can investigate.

More Updates from The Seniors Center Blog

The Seniors Center is here to help you stay safe from every senior scam in 2022 and beyond. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook so you never miss an update!

Stress and Scams Go Hand-in-Hand, Finds New Study

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Being on the receiving end of a scam call or email is frustrating at any time. However, if you’re stressed, it’s possible that you could be more susceptible to frauds. Stress and scams, according to a report by AARP, are closely linked.

Staying aware of current scams can help you avoid giving out personal information. Learn more from The Seniors Center Blog today!

The Connection Between Stress and Scams

There are a number of risk factors that can make an individual more likely to fall victim to a scam. These can involve what time of day they’re targeted, their age, and even recent life events.

Those who have recently been through a traumatic and stressful event such as a divorce, illness, or job loss are more likely to give out information or even money to a scammer. Why? Because scam artists use these events to their advantage.

Scam artists learn everything they can about their marks and use this to keep victims distracted. Those who have been through stressful events might also not have a strong network of support to fall back on. This is a cocktail for disaster.

Stay Safe from Scams

Learning about these risk factors can help you stay safe from scams. In times of stress, don’t let your guard down. Investigate suspicious calls and reach out to loved ones for help if needed.

The Seniors Center Blog is here to help seniors avoid scams and frauds. Make sure to follow The Seniors Center on Twitter and Facebook so you never miss an update!

Romance Scammers Targeting Seniors Through Social Media

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For seniors, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, social media has been a lifeline. Many older Americans enjoy connecting with friends and family on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites. However, there can be hidden dangers lurking on social media. For some seniors, these dangers come in the form of vicious romance scams.

What Are Romance Scams?

Romance scams, also known as dating scams, totaled more than $300 million last year, according to USA Today. Much of these losses were for retirees who have been targeted on social media. The way these scams operate is that a scammer sends their target a friend request and attempts to strike up a friendship or romantic relationship. Then, they’ll move the conversation off of social media and begin texting or calling. Eventually, they will ask for money, possibly for an emergency. They’re likely to ask for a wire transfer or gift cards.

It can be difficult to sort out scammers from individuals who are truly looking for friendship. Senior citizens can stay safe by keeping conversations on social media and not giving out personal information. Research friend requests before accepting them by looking at their profiles. And if you feel suspicious, talk through your concerns with friends and family.

The Seniors Center Blog wants seniors to stay safe. Learn more about recent scams targeting seniors and how to avoid falling into a trap today. And follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more updates—we’re one account you can trust!

Government Imposter Scams Targeting Seniors

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You might know to stay clear of calls from unknown numbers, as these can be scams targeting you for money or information. The ubiquitous calls asking about your car’s extended warranty, for example, are easy to hang up on. But what about when you receive a call from an unknown number and the person on the other end of the line is from Medicare? Or the IRS? Would you be so quick to hang up? Scammers prey on this hesitation in order to steal from vulnerable seniors. Learn more about how to spot government imposter scams so that you can stay safe.

What Are Government Imposter Scams?

Government imposter scams typically involve phone calls. The person on the other end of the line will immediately jump into either threats, demands, or even offerings of money to get you to give up information or money. According to AARP, some of the most common government imposter scams include:

  • Posing as a Medicare employee
  • Pretending to be from the Social Security Administration
  • Acting as a student loan officer
  • Pretending to give out a grant
  • Posing as the FBI

How to Stay Safe

The government will not call with demands—instead, government agencies will typically communicate through the mail. If you’re concerned about a phone call or other communication, hang up and call the agency yourself or look into what the scammer is saying online. It’s likely that other individuals have reported similar calls.

The Seniors Center wants retirees to stay safe from scams. Keep up with our blog on scams, fraud, and abuse to help ensure that you’re not caught off guard. And follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more updates!

New Testimony Could Keep Social Security from Sending Checks to Bad Guardians

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Many seniors have had their lives upended by unwanted guardianships. Guardians step in when an older adult is no longer able to take care of themselves and ask the courts to appoint them as the person in charge of the senior’s finances, living situation, and overall well-being. While it can sound like a good thing that vulnerable seniors have someone looking out for them, guardianships can sometimes be insidious.

The Problem with For-Profit Guardianships

The Seniors Center Blog has reported on for-profit guardianships in the past. These typically involve a non-family member taking control of the senior’s life. They might take from their bank accounts, intercept Social Security benefits, and place the senior into an unhealthy living situation.

New testimony in Congress this September could make a difference. According to reporting by ThinkAdvisor, a witness who testified in front of Congress is calling on the Social Security administration to share information about guardianships and representative payees, who can receive benefits on someone’s behalf. Because the Social Security administration doesn’t currently share that information, they often continue to pay out benefits to this person even if the state has removed them as the senior’s guardian. It’s time for Congress to take action to protect older Americans.

These vicious attacks on seniors need to stop. The Seniors Center is committed to keeping seniors safe by providing timely information on scams and forms of fraud that target seniors. Make sure to follow us on Twitter and FacebookTwitter and Facebook for more updates!

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“Grandparent Scam” Targets Vulnerable Population, Scam Artists Steal Millions

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During COVID-19, senior scams have been on the rise. From vaccine scams through robocalls and texts to romance scams that target lonely older adults, it’s never been more crucial for seniors to stay safe. One of the most insidious senior scams? The “grandparent scam.”

What Is a Grandparent Scam?

In Western New York, hundreds of cases have been reported to the FBI of malicious phone calls to unsuspecting seniors. The intent of these calls? A scammer will pose as the child or grandchild of the senior. During the call, they’ll pretend that they’re in trouble—most likely, legal trouble that requires the senior to send money. Whatever it is, they’ll act like the issue is incredibly urgent. Their request to the senior on the line will be for them to send bail money. In this New York community alone, according to ABC Buffalo, scammers stole over $13 million.

How to Stay Safe

Scammers are likely to get their information about your children or grandchildren through social media. Keep your profiles private and avoid giving out personal information. If you receive a suspicious phone call, hang up. Don’t give them any information, and try to verify who they’re claiming to be by calling someone else. Report any attempted scams to the police.

Don’t get caught off guard by new scams. Follow The Seniors Center on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with the latest news involving seniors!