Elder scams continue to be on the rise. Con artists and scammers target the elderly for a number of reasons. First, they design scams crafted to prey on the vulnerabilities and insecurities of this vulnerable population. Second, they tend to believe that elder individuals are likely to have savings and other assets accumulated and ripe for the plucking. The truth of the matter is that elderly individuals who fall victim to these schemes stand to lose a great deal. The majority of older people are on a fixed income and their savings are meant to last them the rest of their lives. When a scammer takes financial resources away, the consequences can be absolutely devastating. To avoid being a victim or having a loved one be a victim of an elder scam, we are going to go through a few of the more common ones that are making the rounds.
Be on the Lookout for these Elder Scams
Government impersonation scams are among the most commonly circulated elder scams. Many elders depend on government benefits from the Social Security Administration and Medicare, and all of us will get nervous if we think we are hearing from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), so scammers pose as representatives from these government agencies to get the elderly person’s attention. The scammer will claim that the victim has unpaid taxes. Threats of arrest may be made if payment is not immediately tendered. Threats of having government benefits being cut off may also be made. In order to avoid these repercussions, the scammer will say that payment must be made or that personal identifying information must be provided immediately. The scammer will, in turn, use the personal information to commit identity theft.
Scams involving false sweepstakes and lottery prizes are also pretty well-known, although people continue to fall victim to them. In this kind of scam, the scammer will get in touch with the older adult claiming that they have won some sort of price. To claim the winnings, the older individual must make some sort of payment which is allegedly for some kind of processing fee or taxes. Sometimes an individual will be asked to pay thousands of dollars in order to get their winnings. The scammer keeps the money. No prize ever arrives.
Another common type of elder scam is the computer tech support scam. In this kind of scam, scammers are obviously trying to play on the old stereotype that the elderly are not proficient with technology. A pop up message will come up on the computer with a message saying that the device needs to be repaired because it is damaged in some way. To have it fixed, they are directed to call a support number for assistance. When they call, the scammer will request payment to fix the computer and may even request remote access to the computer.
Estate Planning Attorney
At Verras Law we work to protect the elderly and help them plan for the future. Contact Verras Law today.