Don’t Get Scammed This Season

Posted on Sep 12th 2019 by Florida Blue

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Older adults are the fastest-growing group of Americans to be victimized by identity fraud or internet schemes. In fact, one out of every 10 Americans who are 65 and older and living at home will be a victim of scam abuse, according to the United States Senate Committee on Aging.

We all love a discount or a free product, but sometimes it’s hard to know if you’re getting a deal or being scammed. According to the Federal Trade Commission, older adults are more likely to report they have been victims of financial scams or fraud than younger folks. But why are adults over 65 targeted more than other age groups?

  • You are more likely to be home to answer your phone or door.
  • You tend to be more trusting and less likely to suspect a con artist.
  • Scammers might make you feel less lonely or isolated.

Did you know Florida was the third-highest state to report scams in 2018? As technology advances, so do scams. Scammers are getting more creative and more convincing. According to the National Council on Aging, there are three popular scams to watch out for this year, especially in Florida:

Social Security scam calls:

  • Scammers pretend to call from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
  • They will tell you that you will be arrested or face other legal action.
  • They will ask you to give them your Social Security number to avoid jail.

The “grandparent” scam:

  • Scammers will play with your emotions.
  • If you get an unexpected call from someone saying, “Hi Grandma/Grandpa, do you know who this is?” say no.
  • If you offer a name and allow the scammer to create an identity, their chances of scamming you increase.
  • They will ask you for money for an emergency, such as overdue bills.
  • They will also ask you not to tell their parents, so you never know you got scammed.

After natural disaster scams:

  • These scams are becoming more popular, especially in Florida where hurricane season is a big deal.
  • After a natural disaster, scammers will pretend to be charities looking for donations to help victims. Or even pretend they are from the IRS.
  • They will ask you for personal information to help you get tax refunds and file loss claims.

Other common scams to watch out for:

  • Tech support (from foreign countries): Tech support scammers want you to believe there is a serious problem with your computer, phone or electronic device. They want you to pay for services that fix problems and get rid of viruses that aren’t there. They usually call you from another country and want you to wire money to them.
  • Medicare or health care scams: You receive a call, email or letter offering good savings on medical care. The scammer often refuses to give details about the company, such as an address or phone number.
  • Phishing: If you receive an email telling you there is a problem with your bank account and are asked to click a link that takes you to another site to give private information, such as your Social Security number, don’t do it! The email and website might look real, but real banks or companies would never ask for your private information this way.
  • Foreign Lotteries: If you receive a call or email saying you have won a large amount of money from a foreign country, be cautious. These scammers will ask you to send money upfront to pay taxes or various fees. Remember, these lotteries are illegal. Sometimes you may be sent a check as partial payment, but this check is fake.

How to limit getting scammed:

  • Register your phone number with the National Do-Not-Call registry at 1-888-382-1222 or donotcall.gov.
  • If you have a smartphone, download apps that screen and block scam calls.
  • Add caller ID to your landline so you can screen calls.
  • If you get a phone call from a number you don’t recognize, let it go to voicemail. You can listen to your messages and decide whether to return the call.
  • Don’t give money to anyone who shows up at your door unexpectedly.
  • Don’t give personal or financial information to an unknown caller or email.
  • Ask questions if you are unsure about credibility. If the scammer is vague and tries to hide company information from you, hang up or delete the email.

 

Sources:

https://www.ncoa.org/blog/3-most-popular-scams-targeting-seniors/

https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/reports/protecting-older-consumers-2017-2018-report-congress-federal-trade-commission/protecting_older_consumers_-_ftc_report_10-18-18.pdf

https://www.collins.senate.gov/sites/default/files/2019%20Fraud%20Book.pdf

 

 


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