Financial scammers often victimize older adults. Understanding the red flags of common senior scams can help you keep your parent or other loved ones safe.
Review these characteristics of a financial scam so you can take action if necessary.
With this scenario, the scammer pretends to be a grandchild in trouble. He or she asks the grandparent for money and requests that they keep the problem a secret. Usually, the person perpetrates this scam on the phone and asks for either a money transfer or gift cards.
If your family member uses social media or dating apps, he or she may be at risk for scams. Often, someone from another state or even outside the U.S. poses as a potential romantic partner. He or she may solicit money or gifts while making up excuses to cancel planned video chats and visits. With this type of scam, also called catfishing, the scammer uses fake pictures and typically requests a large sum of money to resolve a legal problem or purchase plane tickets.
Health insurance scam
Seniors may find that scammers target their Medicare benefits. They may contact older adults by phone or email and attempt to get personal information by claiming the member’s benefits are in jeopardy. They might claim to be a billing firm working for Medicare and collect premiums or sell “new supplemental policies.”
The National Council on Aging reports that American seniors lose more than $3 billion to financial scams like these every year. Knowing the risks provides an important level of protection.