Scams and frauds are, for the most part, an equal opportunity evil. However, many of these are targeted at senior citizens, the fastest growing demographic to be victimized by scam artists. Because older people are generally more trusting in strangers, more likely to be home during the day, and tend to be on fixed incomes, they are especially vulnerable to fraudsters.
Below are some of the most common scams committed against seniors:
Foreign Lotteries. This is when the victim receives a call or email letting them know they won a large sum of money in a lottery from another country. You usually have to send money upfront, and sometimes you will even receive a phony check. These are illegal.
Home Improvement Scams. Con-artists will offer to repair your home, overcharge, and do bad work. They will even arrange financing but the lender will charge high fees and the payment will not be affordable.
Telemarketing Scams. These calls offer a great deal on a product but the caller asks for personal finance information and uses it to get to your bank account.
Phishing. These emails generally look like they are legitimately from your bank, asking for social security or other sensitive information. These are used to steal your identity. Beware, these emails may even include your bank’s logo, but any legitimate company would never ask for confidential information this way.
Phony Charities. These tend to appear to be associated with the police or fire departments, but they are scam artists soliciting money for a fake charity.
Investment/Healthcare Scams. This is when you are contacted regarding above-market returns or a good deal on healthcare, but the solicitor will not provide company information.
To protect yourself or someone you care about, it is important to always check with your Better Business Bureau before doing business with a company or donating to a charity that you are not familiar with. For more information on ways to avoid being scammed, visit us at BBB.org.