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January 17, 2013

Kendal Cautious: How to Avoid Scams that Target Older Adults

Scammers frequently target older adults, relying on their trusting nature, empathy, and desire to help others to get their foot in the door. It’'s a truism of human nature that honest people expect other people to be honest and are less likely to assume duplicity. Scam artists rely on the upright character of older adults to perpetrate their immoral trickery. The best defense is a healthy dose of skepticism and an awareness of common scams. 

A Season for Every Scam 

Many popular scams appear to follow a seasonal pattern, cropping up more frequently at certain times of the year. For example, scammers pretending to be grandchildren in trouble time their email requests for cash to spring breaks when college students are more likely to be traveling on their own. Medicare scams are most prevalent during the fall open enrollment period when identity thieves posing as insurance company personnel try to trick unsuspecting Medicare enrollees into sharing personal information. 

Be Aware: Popular Scams 

  • Beware of sweepstake scams notifying you that you’'re a prize winner but asking you to prepay processing or shipping fees before you receive your prize. You’'ll be out the cash and never see the prize. Identity thieves have put a new twist on sweepstakes scams, requesting personal information to verify your identity, so don’'t fall for this one either.
  • The grandparents scam tries to open your wallet with a frantic call or email from a grandchild claiming to be in trouble in a foreign country and begging you to wire money to cover hospital bills, bail or emergency travel expenses. Scammers posing as grandchildren are raking in millions preying on the fears of unsuspecting grandparents. Check with your loved ones before sending any money.
  • Scams offering free or discounted medical supplies for chronic conditions such as diabetes are often attempts to obtain personal information. Identity thieves will ask for personal info to verify that you qualify for free supplies you’'ll never receive. Talk to your healthcare provider or insurance company before sharing any personal information. 

Next time we will discuss how to protect yourself from online scams. In the meantime, learn how to protect your financial wellbeing when searching for a retirement community. Download our free guide, Unraveling the Mystery of Financial Security for a Retirement Community, today.

Photo credit: *saxon* via photopin cc


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