Approximately 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 today and about 10-thousand more will cross that threshold every day for the next 16 years. Additionally, over the next fifty years the United States will see the largest transfer of wealth (totaling more than $20 trillion) from Depression-era consumers to their baby boomer children.
For scammers tuned to this wave of societal aging, an unprecedented opportunity is presented for access to a pool of wealth.
All of this adds up to a prime situation for thieves looking to tap into baby boomer savings. Below are a few of the most common scams that will continue to circulate as more and more baby boomers prepare to blow out their birthday candles.
Telemarketing Scams: Consumers aged 65 or older are twice as likely to purchase an item or service over the phone in comparison to their younger counterparts. Whether the person on the line is asking you to pay to receive a lottery prize, for your credit card number to buy a new computer at a discounted price or for your social security number to adjust your Medicare account, do not give out any personal information over the phone. If you ever have any question about the legitimacy of the business you’re speaking to, ask for a callback number and verify its claims with your BBB.
Internet Fraud: The ability to use the Internet is a good tool to have at any age, however baby boomers and the generations that precede them are more likely to fall victim to pop-up ad scams, phishing scams and anything else that has the potential to steal personal information or download malware online. Never open an email from someone you don’t know, click on an unknown link or download software onto your computer without being aware of its function.
Charity Scams: Scammers see the most results and are able to steal the majority of their money when the ‘cause’ tugs at the heart strings of unsuspecting consumers. While it’s unfortunate, the Better Business Bureau sees a severe uptick in complaints regarding charity scams after natural disasters, school shootings and other major crises. Even though it may be tempting to send off a check or hand over your credit card number when introduced to stories of those seemingly affected by these tragedies, always ask for additional information (i.e. the organization’s website, phone number, mission statement, etc.) to verify their legitimacy and feel comfortable with your donation.