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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
For seniors, keeping private information safe is of the utmost importance. However, staying safe online can be challenging. Luckily, seniors can take advantage of a number of resources from the Social Security Administration to protect their information.
According to the official Social Security blog, several resources are available specifically so that seniors can protect themselves online. These include:
A my Social Security account – Open an online account to check for suspicious activity
The “Guard Your Card” infographic – Learn when you might need to show your Social Security card and when to keep it private
The Social Security Administration’s Privacy page – Discover how the SSA works to keep your identity safe
You can learn more about these and other resources on the Social Security Administration’s website. Share what you learn with your loved ones as well, as this information can help everyone whether they’re a Social Security recipient or now.
We’re working hard to ensure that seniors can stay safe from scams, fraud, and identity theft. Stay updated with The Seniors Center Blog’s latest updates by following The Seniors Center on Twitter and Facebook!
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.
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!