Costly financial scams targeting seniors can be absolutely devastating and wreak havoc on their lives. Unfortunately, they’re all too common. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), here are the Top 3 scams targeting senior citizens in our country:
Medicare/Health Insurance Fraud
A scam artist commonly will pose as a Medicare representative and ask the vulnerable elderly to give them personal information in order to get them into a Medicare program personalized to their needs. Or, the fraudster may provide fake services at a “makeshift” location, bill medicare, and keep the cash.
The Grandparent Scam
This scam is particularly horrific because it targets the senior’s love and dedication for their grandkids. The scam is so simple, but effective. The scammer will call the senior and say something along the lines of “Grandma, do you know who this is?” Well, if they’re saying grandma, the senior is probably going to guess it’s a grandchild. She’ll likely guess which grandchild, and boom, the scammer has established a relationship with the senior. Now, the “grandchild” (scammer) will ask for money for a “predicament” they’re in (rent due, jail bond, car repairs) and beg for the grandparent not to tell anyone. And since scammers very often like to be paid via money transfer, with no identification requirement, that money is likely never to be seen again.
Government Imposter Scams
This type of scam has really gotten popular in recent years. So popular, in fact, that many people (outside of seniors) are being targeted. Consumers reported more than 498,000 imposter scams to the Federal Trade Commission in 2020. (And that’s just the number of reported scams.)
These government imposter scammers will often pretend to be calling you from government agencies like the Social Security Administration or the IRS. Or say they work for Medicare. They say that if you don’t pay or you refuse to give them your personal information, you’ll go to jail. Or you’ll be fined. Or your government benefits will be suspended. Or maybe you’ll miss out on some government benefits. It’s a scam. Don’t fall for it. Anything that is legitimately from the government, will come in the mail.
While these scams targeting seniors may seem easy to spot, remember that scam artists are professional con men and women and make a living being deceitful. If you’re over 60 or if you have family members who fall into this age group, be sure you’re aware of fraud and know that it’s always lurking around the corner.
Never provide your personal financial or other information to someone unless you know the company or the representative is legitimate. Republic Bank of Chicago (along with any other legitimate bank), will never ask for personal info in an unsolicited email. Any financial information you give needs to be given via voice to a trusted representative.
It is our top priority to protect your information. We encourage you to take an active role in safeguarding your information.
If you have any questions, ask to call the company or entity the individual claims to represent. And, never feel pressured to pay for something if you don’t completely understand what is being sold to you. Protect your information. It’s easier to be proactive than reactive if and when you’re scammed.
If you were scammed, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.