Seniors are a favorite target of scam artists. According to one survey, seniors over the age of 60 have lost nearly $3 billion a year to financial fraud. Here are a few of the tactics used to bilk seniors of their money.
- Advanced fee to claim winnings. The target victim is told he’s won something and just needs to send money to cover fees, insurance, or whatever to claim the prize.
- Computer virus scam. The caller tells the senior that a virus has been detected on his/her computer. The victim is told to log into a website that lets the crook control the computer so the virus can be eliminated. But what happens is that the person’s personal information is stolen.
- Grandparent scam. The caller claims to be a grandchild in a crisis situation. The imposter grandchild asks for money to be wired, pleading not to involve the parents.
- Medical scam. The caller claims to be running a special on some medical equipment and needs a deposit and your Medicare/Medicaid information to let you take advantage of the sale.
As people become familiar with each new scam, the con artists find yet another way to cheat people. The FBI gives this advice to avoid becoming a victim of a fraud: Be skeptical of offers that sound good but probably aren’t, don’t respond to e-mails from people or companies you don’t know, and never, never give out any personal numbers or other information.