Unfortunately, with the rise of technology, there have been an increasing number of retirees’ accounts being targeted for financial scams to rob them of their wealth or identities. Because scammers have gained an understanding of how to trick and manipulate this older generation, it has become quite common for scammers to gain access to bank accounts, personal information, and, in some cases, assets.
Learning about the common risks and schemes found in today’s world can mean the difference between you or your loved ones remaining protected or playing right into the tricks of scam artists.
Common Scams That Target Retirees and Seniors
Health Insurance Scams
As a citizen who is older than 65, you qualify for Medicare benefits, which can make you a target for health insurance–related scams. Scammers can carry out fraudulent behavior over the phone or even at the door by utilizing insurance provider information, which they can acquire easily.
A few common situations to be aware of include being told that you need a new Medicare card and that to receive one, you need to provide your Social Security information or discussions of new supplemental policies.
1. Investment Scams Many retirees are interested in expanding their wealth, especially if they have a legacy to one day leave behind, which can make this group easy prey for faux “investment opportunities” that may not exist at all. Whether it’s offering their finances to a fictional business or buying a vacation property that isn’t real, investment scams have the potential to instantly deplete retirees of their savings.
2. Internet & Email Scams Because so many retirees aren’t always accustomed to the ever-changing details involved with the internet, these schemes have become incredibly common. Phishing scams, viral pop-ups, and attempts to steal one’s identity are a few examples of some of the things that can be encountered. It’s important to keep in mind that no bank or other business will ask for personal information via email. If you are ever concerned or unsure, visit their website directly or contact them for additional confirmation.
3. Charity Scams We all know that natural disasters are often unpredictable and happen regularly. With these occurrences, scammers find opportunities to target those who have been affected or want to lend their support. These situations can occur over the phone, through social media, in email, or in person. Always donate to reputable charities; you can learn more using the IRS’s tax-exempt organization search.
4. Help/Grandparent Scams This scenario often consists of someone calling or emailing the victim either pretending to be a family member in trouble or acting as a person of authority representing the relative who is supposedly in trouble. They then ask for money to be wired to cover certain fees, which you may be all too happy to provide as someone who is emotionally involved. To keep the situation under wraps, you may then be asked not to tell anyone, and soon after this “relative” will never be heard from again, leaving you out of a particular amount of money.
If you find yourself the victim of any of the scenarios above, it’s important to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. By doing so, you may be able to retrieve your funds, but in the end, you will be helping a potential victim from experiencing a similar situation.
Protecting Yourself and Others From Financial Scams
It’s important to protect yourself and those close to you from falling victim to the all too frequent financial scams of today. Taking the time to address these details can help prevent you from encountering devastating theft.
Ask questions and stay informed
Never give out personal information to unknown sources
Don’t make hasty decisions
It’s unfortunate, but scammers who often prey on the elderly generally rely on the assumption that retirees and older groups of people are unfamiliar with technology and that they are unaware of the many possibilities of having their personal information stolen.
If you ever feel suspicious of an email, phone call, or other forms of contact, don’t hesitate to go with your gut and do your research regarding the origins of the “company” or group you’re speaking with. Staying aware will help you safeguard your well-being.
5th Street Advisors is an SEC registered investment advisor. The content in this message is provided for informational purposes and should not be relied upon as recommendations or financial planning advice. All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of your entire investment