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How to Avoid Phone and Internet Scams Targeting Seniors

In the modern era, scams are a huge industry, and unfortunately, many people prey on those who aren’t as educated on the different types of scams out there and how they target different groups. Seniors are a group that many scammers target, simply because many seniors aren’t aware of how scams operate; while young adults have often heard about phone and Internet scams from a very young age, seniors don’t always have that advantage. 

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Scammers prey on people who are less likely to be able to identify and stop scams. By being alert and aware that scams happen frequently, you can keep yourself from being taken advantage of, whether online or over the phone. When you’re active on the Internet, whether it’s very frequently or only occasionally, you need to be aware of phone and Internet scams and how to avoid them. Here’s a quick explanation.

What are phone and Internet scams?

A scam is when someone poses as a legitimate source in order to steal money or personal information from someone. One in 18 seniors falls victim to scams annually — and unfortunately, that’s likely an underestimate, as many elderly people don’t report scams. Scammers take many forms, but some of the forms they take include promising you an unbelievable return on an “investment,” selling bogus items and services, impersonating a government official, or threatening you directly.

It’s actually extremely common for scams to happen over the phone, although Internet scams generally cause people to lose more money. You have to be on alert even if you don’t use the Internet; many scammers recognize that elderly people tend to use the Internet sparingly, and target seniors over the phone instead.

Internet scams

What are the biggest scams to look out for?

Scams can be divided into a few categories, but there are also specific scams within those categories that are very common, mainly because, unfortunately, they often work. Some of the most common scams that target seniors include:

Counterfeit prescription drugs

Because of how expensive prescription drugs can be, many seniors can be taken in by the promise of saving money on their prescriptions. This is an extremely dangerous scam that cannot only cost you money but actually endanger you. There are plenty of legitimate ways to find lower prices for your medication; look into those rather than giving your money to shady online sources.

phishing

Fake IRS communication

Many people, especially seniors, worry about accidentally doing something wrong when it comes to taxes. That’s why these IRS frauds can be so convincing. These can take the form of fake emails from individuals claiming to be from the IRS and demanding personal or financial information or phone calls from individuals impersonating employees and threatening you with arrest.

The “Grandparent Scam”

In this particularly awful tactic, scammers call an elderly person, generally asking something like, “Hello grandma, do you remember who this is?” When the person guesses the name of a grandchild who sounds somewhat like the scammer, they assume that identity and ask for money to cover something that they say has happened to them. For example, they’ll say they’re in jail and need money to cover bail.

Phone scams

How do I prevent scamming?

There are many ways to make sure you don’t get scammed, either now or in the future. An important one is to report all potential fraud or scams. Whether you’ve actually been scammed or are just pretty sure you’ve been targeted, it’s important to report it so it can be tracked before other seniors are taken advantage of.

Another important thing is to be on high alert for scams. Unfortunately, only about half of seniors 65+ are concerned about the potential of being scammed or taken advantage of financially, even though it is a very real problem. Create strong passwords, don’t click on unknown links or download unknown files, and monitor your bills and statements regularly.

Something else that can help you avoid scams is having a reliable community around you that can keep you from being lonely and wanting to believe scams that play on your emotions. If you don’t have that kind of community already, After55.com can help you find those communities near you. Whether you’d like to find a retirement community nearby or you’re considering moving into assisted living, After55.com can help you find that community, making you less likely to fall for scams.

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  • Rafael Henriquez

    About :

    Rafael (Raf) is the Targeted Content Writer & Strategist for ForRent.com, CorporateHousing.com, After55.com, and ForRentUniversity.com. He helps create, edit, and plan content that connects current and potential renters with apartment and property managers and owners. When Raf isn’t busy writing, he spends a great deal of his time performing sketch and improv comedy, hanging out at the beach, and looking at memes on the Internet.

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