Unfortunately, seniors oftentimes tend to be the target of con artists. The most common crimes are financial, with con artists after your hard-earned money.
Arm yourself with knowledge against con artists, and protect yourself with these tips:
- Know the most current scams and how to avoid them. Recent ones have been focused on Medicare/health insurance and counterfeit prescription drugs. Stay up to date by signing up for tips through the National Council on Aging.
- Don’t accept phone calls or social media friend requests from people you don’t know.
- If you receive a phone call about money from someone claiming to be someone you know, tell them you’d rather discuss it in person — but don’t give them your address. If they know you, they should have your address. If there is a reason they wouldn’t have your address, tell them you will call them back and ask for their phone number. After the call, you can check with family to assure that they are who they say they are.
- Learn how to identify a scam, such as ask questions and check out answers, research the company before you invest, know the salesperson, never judge a person’s integrity by how he or she sounds, watch out for salespeople who prey on your fears, don’t be rushed into investment decisions and never be afraid to complain. Find more tips from the Office of Investor Education and Advocacy.
- NEVER release your credit card or bank account information over the phone or email.
- If you receive a call from the IRS, tell them that you would prefer to visit their nearest office. Ask for an address and double-check the address online before you go.
- Don’t answer the door for salespeople you don’t know. They might be scoping out your house for a robbery.
- Install a good security system.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Even the most intelligent and well-educated person can fall for a scam. Con artists are crafty and are willing to do whatever it takes to steal your information. Don’t assume that you’re above these scams — they can happen to anyone.
If you feel that you’ve been scammed or targeted for a scam, report the fraud as soon as possible to your local law enforcement office or through the Department of Justice. You just may help someone else avoid being scammed.