The elderly are vulnerable in many ways, but financial fraud is one of the more damaging.
Seniors are lucrative targets, in part, because crooks know that they likely have money socked away for retirement—money just waiting to be tapped and fleeced.
Here are some of the most common scams.
In this scenario, someone contacts you to pay for something you never ordered. Maybe it’s a large prize you need to pay fees to receive or a product they said you purchased. Regardless, never give out any personal information to strangers asking for financial account details, your Social Security number, and so forth, and definitely don’t pay them anything.
The fraudsters will call posing as either a relative or someone representing a relative, usually a grandchild, and claim this person is in danger in a foreign country. Of course, to get the relative out of trouble, they’ll want you to wire them money immediately.
Around the holidays, a lot of fake charities target seniors. Avoid them by donating only to charitable organizations you are familiar with. In sweetheart scams, a friend, neighbor, or acquaintance gets close to a senior in order to gain access to his or her accounts. Check statements regularly for unknown charges.
This one usually involves someone stealing your computer to access your financial information. To prevent this, password protect your computer.
If you own a timeshare and are trying to sell it, thoroughly research any company offering to sell it on your behalf—especially if the company wants money upfront.
This one involves people who come to your door saying they were driving by and noticed something wrong with your house that needs immediate attention. They are selling home repairs you don’t need. Tell them you’ll have your lawyer—or son or daughter—get back to them. Even better—don’t answer the door.
If you’ve been scammed, contact SIU Credit Union at 618-457-3595 and the Federal Trade Commission.