Health care scams are on the rise, with con artists using a wide range of phony stories to trick victims.
These types of scams soared from 9 percent to 28 percent of all financial abuse claims reported by older Americans between 2008 and 2010, according to national data. Women ages 80 to 89 who live alone are nearly twice as likely to be victims.
So how do you protect yourself? Identifying a scam is easier if you’re familiar with some of the most common cons.
Social Security Identity Fraud Scheme: Identity thieves are targeting older Americans and obtaining their personal information by deceiving them with telemarketing or lottery schemes. Then, the information is used to send the victims’ Social Security benefits to the thieves’ bank accounts, or to change the address where the Social Security checks are mailed.
Medic Alert Device Fraud Scheme: This scam is sweeping the nation. A criminal will call a victim and imply that the person’s child or doctor has signed up him or her for a medical alert system device and paid for the device. Then, the caller will request information to ship the item and sign up the individual for a monthly monitoring fee. This allows the scam artists to obtain bank account and personal information to commit identity theft.
Grandma Scam: Seniors who live alone may be particularly vulnerable to this common scam. The scammers contact you and alert their voice claiming to be a grandchild, niece or nephew. Sounding desperate, the caller asks for money claiming to be in trouble and needing you to wire money immediately and keep that a secret. An easy way to know if you are being scammed is to ask a question that only your loved one could answer.
Internet & Social Media Scams: Con artists have many tricks that include copycat charity websites that look legitimate, and fake ticket agencies. Scammers are also searching Facebook and other sites for personal information to sound like they know you. If you use social media sites, avoid listing your home address or posting family members’ names on photos.
These scams happen year-round, but occur more often during the holiday season. Be cautious and suspicious of anyone contacting you.
Article From InterView Magazine