Beware of Financial — and Other — Scams

Mar 1, 2021 by

Beware of Financial — and Other — Scams
Swindling senior citizens out of money or benefits has become the #1 crime of the 2020’s. Of course, nowadays, seniors citizens are designated by an age – not a level of awareness. A 66-year-old might be as mentally sharp as a person 10 years younger in the 1990s. We not only live longer, but our minds are clearer too.
There are many scams that are perpetrated on seniors; we’ll post blogs about them, a few at a time.
• Funeral or burial expenses.
In this instance, unscrupulous funeral homes will falsely inform a bereaved husband or wife that a casket is necessary — even when cremation is chosen over burial. A cardboard casket is used in cremations and anything more than that is to line the pockets of the scam funeral parlor. Beware!
• Fraudulent Anti-aging Products or Procedures
This is not surprising, since our society is permeated with vanity and the desire to look our best – despite what time and gravity may do. Always use a reputable doctor or salon to have botox treatments or other procedures that are supposed to remove wrinkles and blemishes. Don’t hesitate to get a second opinion, either. Many things can go wrong and leave the person worse off than before the procedure.
• Telemarketing Phone Scams
These are more prevalent among seniors than any other age group. Older people make twice as many phone purchases as younger people. Don’t provide your personal information to anyone on the phone, unless you know how to trace the purchase. If you see a reputable ad on T.V. or similar, and you can verify that the phone number advertised is the one you called, and so forth.
Three examples of common telemarketing scams are:

• A con artist tells the person that s/he has found a large sum of money and will split it if the person makes a “good faith” payment from their bank account. Hang up quickly!

• Another example is a caller tries to get the victim to send money or provide a credit card because a close relative is in the hospital and needs it. Again, hang up quickly. Don’t believe a stranger’s call about a sick or injured relative – verify the truth first!

• Lastly, are telemarketing charity scams, which often occur after a natural disaster. Legitimate charities do sometimes solicit donations “out of the blue” but more often than not, they will advertise on T.V. or radio and provide a website or toll-free phone number for you to use if you wish to donate. Be wise!

• INTERNET FRAUD
Finally, we will touch upon a scam that permeates the Internet. Since many older people are new to the world of the ‘Net, they do not realize how untrustworthy much of the ads and “information” are. The main one to discuss here is simple: Antivirus Software. You can purchase many legitimate programs that will protect your computer from viruses. A little searching yields much excellent information. But a pop-up ad (one that pops up on your screen without your clicking or choosing it) is probably bogus. It may cost you money to do nothing – or worse, it may actually download a virus onto your machine that can wreak havoc on your internet world.

Of course, never, ever, give your personal information on an unknown, unproven website. There are countless scams that a seeking the few personal identifiers that a crook needs to steal your identity and/or your money – name, date of birth, Driver’s License or ID number, your Social Security number . . . nothing more is needed to pretend to be you. Last year,

Medicare finally stopped the practice of using your Social Security number as the basis for your Medicare ID. Now, your Medicare card has a completely different number, which cuts down on instances of a stranger seeing it or being able to use it!
In the coming days, we will post some more information to help seniors avoid scams and grifts. Thanks for reading!

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