While no one is truly safe from scammers, it is a sad reality that seniors are a huge target. They make up approximately 12% of the U.S. population, however, account for about 35% of all fraud victims. These seniors are being bombarded by telephone calls, mail, e-mails and even the ringing of their doorbell. What are the scammers after? Anything from cash, life insurance benefits, pensions, annuities, home equity and personal belongings. Want to get flooded by mail? Send a small donation to a phony charity. All it takes is one time for a name to become a marketable commodity.
- They may have a strong desire to be helpful or charitable and these scammers know exactly how to pull on one’s heart strings.
- They may simply be lonely and enjoy speaking with a friendly stranger.
- They tend to be home more and the scammers know just when to stalk their prey.
- They may have a declining physical or mental capacity.
Scammers know how to exploit these vulnerabilities very well.
Here are a few tips to safeguard yourself and loved ones from them:
- NEVER give out social security, credit card or bank account numbers.
- NEVER give out other personal information until you can fully verify who is calling and for what.
- Expect to be targeted.
- Avoid unwanted calls by sending a “Do Not Call” request to: Direct Marketing Association Telephone Preference Service (P.O. Box 9014 Farmington, NY 11735-9014)
- Contact the National Fraud Info Center at: 1.800.876.7060
- Lastly, always remember, if it sounds too good to be true, IT IS!