Don’t Let Scams Ruin Your Holidays—Take This Quiz to Test Your Knowledge

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Did you know that scams can spike during the holidays?

During the holiday season, when people are feeling generous and looking for ways to help others, scammers can take advantage of this kind of generosity. As many as three-quarters of Americans have been targeted by a scam that’s connected to the holidays at some point.

These scams can include online fraud, fake charities, and even identity theft. It’s important to stay vigilant and protect yourself from these kinds of predatory activities.

How to Spot Holiday Scams

Unknown numbers, gift cards that have been tampered with, and shady charities are some of the biggest red flags associated with holiday scams. However, knowing what to look out for can be difficult, especially with the prevalence of online scams.

AARP has put together a helpful online quiz that will test your knowledge of holiday scams. The quiz covers topics like phishing, check fraud, and other factors that can help you identify potential disasters before they have a chance to affect you.

For example, can you always trust ads for items you see on social media? Will retailers like Amazon ever ask for your login info over the phone? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you stay safe from scams during the holidays.

The Seniors Center Blog Can Help You Stay Safe for the Holidays

We hope you enjoy this holiday season—and stay vigilant against scams! At The Seniors Center, you’ll find helpful advice on how to stay safe. From avoiding impostor fraud to recognizing questionable charities, our blog has all the info you need to stay safe during the holidays.

Learn more by following us on Twitter and Facebook today!

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

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

Discover The Seniors Center’s mission and how you can get involved today.

This Holiday Season, Avoid Charity Scams

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Donating to charity this holiday season? Make sure you do your research first to avoid charity scams.

Charity scams are unfortunately common, especially during the holidays when people are feeling more generous. Scammers take advantage of this by posing as legitimate charities and asking for donations. They may even set up fake websites or social media accounts that look real.

Staying Safe from Charity Scams

According to AARP, you can take the following steps to avoid charity scams:

  • Research the charity before you donate. Make sure it’s a legitimate organization by checking out websites like the Better Business Bureau.
  • Ask about tax deductions. Legitimate charities will be able to provide information about tax deductions for your donation.
  • Hang up if you need to. If a caller is being pushy or aggressive, it’s a red flag. Just hang up and donate to a charity of your choice instead.
  • Watch for sneaky name changes. Some scammers will try to trick you by using a similar name to a legitimate charity. So be sure to double-check before you donate.

You can stay safe from charity scams this holiday season by doing your research and being aware of red flags. Don’t let scammers take advantage of your generosity—give to a charity of your choice instead. Follow The Seniors Center on Twitter and Facebook to learn more about common senior scams and how to avoid them.

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!

Hear a Nashville Senior’s Story About Scam Artists

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When you reach out to a financial advisor, you expect to be taken care of. But one Nashville senior was scammed out of thousands by someone she thought she could trust.

How This Senior Scam Worked

This woman’s senior scam story begins with a man handing out AARP information. According to WKRN.com, this man told a Nashville woman, Paula Gilmore, that he could help her with her finances and manage her money.

She believed him—he seemed credible. However, over the next 10 years, she handed him close to $230,000. But instead of investing it, he was pocketing it for himself.

According to Gilmore’s daughter, the man would open up her mail and even write checks from her own account to pass off as dividends. In reality, he was just cashing them and taking the money for himself.

Eventually, the FBI caught up to the scam artist. However, the damage was done.

Staying Safe from Fraud and Scams

Consult others before making any decisions about your finances, especially if someone you don’t know approaches you.

At The Seniors Center, we understand how important your financial security is. We’re working to help seniors stay aware of the latest scams so they can protect themselves. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook so you never miss a post!

FBI Releases Details About Cyber Crimes in 2021—Here’s How to Take Action

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The FBI has recently released statistics detailing the cyber crimes that have taken place so far in 2021. These crimes range from phishing scams to ransomware attacks, and they have affected individuals, businesses, and government entities alike. The good news is that there are steps that everyone can take to protect themselves from these types of attacks.

Here are some of the most common cyber crimes that have been reported so far this year:

  • Ransomware – This type of attack involves criminals using malicious software to lock up your computer files and demand a ransom in order to get them back. Ransomware attacks can be devastating for businesses, as they can result in the loss of important data and files.
  • Supply chain attacks – These attacks target the supply chains of businesses in order to gain access to their networks. Once inside, the attackers can then install ransomware or steal sensitive data.
  • Critical infrastructure attacks – These attacks target the systems that control our critical infrastructure, such as power grids and water treatment plants. These attacks can have a significant impact on public safety.

For individuals, the best defense against these types of attacks is to educate yourself about the risks and be aware of the signs of an attack. If you receive a suspicious email, don’t click on any links or attachments. Change passwords regularly and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. And, if you are a victim of an attack, don’t pay the ransom.

Learn more on how to stay safe from our past articles on cyber security tips. And be sure to follow The Seniors Center on Twitter and Facebook so you never miss an update!

Videos to Help Seniors Learn About Scams

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Staying aware of the latest scams is important for everyone, but it’s especially crucial for seniors. Scam artists often target older adults because they may be more trusting or less likely to report a crime.

However, the American Bankers Association has put together a series of short videos that can help seniors learn about the most common types of scams. Called the “Safe Banking for Seniors Scams Awareness Series,” these seven videos detail some of the most common types of fraud, including family imposter schemes, sweetheart scams, and lottery scams.

You can view the first one below:

Each video is under two minutes long and features tips on how to avoid being scammed, as well as what to do if you think you’ve already been victimized. This knowledge can be invaluable in helping seniors protect themselves and their finances.

You can watch the entire series on the American Bankers Association’s website or on YouTube.

The Seniors Center Blog is here to help retirees stay safe and informed. Check back often for more tips and resources and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook so you never miss an update!

The FTC’s New Advisory Group to Fight Scams

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There are many different types of scams targeting seniors, from fraudulent investment schemes to fake lottery scams. And with seniors being one of the most vulnerable demographic groups when it comes to fraud, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has put together a new advisory group to help fight back against these scams.

How the FTC Advisory Group Will Fight Back

According to the FTC, this group is part of the Stop Senior Scams Act. It will bring together “federal agency partners, consumer advocates, and industry representatives” to identify and find ways to stop scams that target seniors.

A few of the ways that the group plans to do this are by:

  • Improving education efforts
  • Finding innovative ways to prevent scams
  • Improving industry training
  • Developing research to better understand how seniors are targeted by scammers

This initiative comes on the heels of a new program in Pennsylvania bringing together government agencies and community resources to help seniors who have been victimized by scams. This new wave of anti-scam efforts is a welcome relief for seniors.

The Seniors Center

The Seniors Center is here to help seniors stay safe from scams and other threats. Keep up with our latest posts on Twitter and Facebook and learn more about our mission today!

How One Nonprofit Network is Fighting Back Against Elder Abuse

Fighting back against elder abuse: that's the mission of a new network of nonprofits in Philadelphia. Find out how they're helping seniors today.
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It’s clear there is a widespread problem of elder abuse in the United States. Seniors from all over have experienced some type of abuse, often in the form of financial exploitation. As different states look to create their own solutions to this problem, one network of nonprofits and government agencies in Philadelphia is working hard to prevent elder abuse and keep seniors safe.

According to WHYY, the Elder Abuse Multidisciplinary Team will consist of representatives from various agencies who will work together to investigate and prosecute cases of elder abuse. The team will also provide support to victims and their families.

One of the ways that this initiative will help seniors is by giving social workers a new avenue to report suspected cases of abuse. This is important because, often, seniors are reluctant to come forward and report abuse out of fear or shame. And social workers can be limited in what they can do to help if they don’t have concrete evidence of abuse.

Helping seniors stay safe from elder abuse is a complex issue, but this network is working hard to make sure that seniors in Philadelphia have the resources and support they need. If this initiative is successful, nationwide programs could help make a difference.

The Seniors Center is here to help retirees stay safe from scams and other forms of fraud and abuse. We invite you to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to learn more about our work to improve Social Security and the lives of hardworking seniors around the nation.

Text Message Scams Flooding Your Inbox? Here’s What’s Behind Them

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Spam calls and emails are nothing new. But if you’ve noticed an uptick of strange text messages, watch out—you may be the target of a “smishing” scam. These text message scams are on the rise, and they can be difficult to spot. Here’s what you need to know about smishing and how you can protect yourself.

What is Smishing?

AARP reports that smishing is a type of phishing scam that uses text messages instead of email. The goal is the same—to trick you into giving up personal information or clicking on a malicious link. But because text messages are often seen as more trustworthy than email, smishing scams can be harder to spot.

Smishing scams can take many forms. The text might seem to be a simple wrong number message meant for the sender’s friend—and when you respond, the scammer will try to engage you in conversation. Or, the text might claim to be from a credible source like a bank or government agency. Texts about package deliveries, account updates, or even COVID-19 vaccinations are all common smishing scams.

In any case, the goal is to get you to respond to the text or click on a link. Once you do, the scammer can then collect your personal information or install malware on your device.

Stay Safe from Text Message Scams

The best way to stay safe from text message scams? Ignore and delete suspicious messages, and never click on a link unless it’s from a sender you know and trust.

The Seniors Center Blog is here to help retirees stay safe and informed. For more information on smishing and other scams, be sure to follow The Seniors Center on Twitter and Facebook!