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Top 10 Senior Scams
Transcript of Top 10 Senior Scams
University of Idaho Extension
View this and other presentations at:
www.idahostwocenttips.com TOP TEN SENIOR SCAMS Presented
in reverse order
based on frequency
and severity 10. Funeral & Cemetery Scams Scammers read obituaties
in the paper, then call
grieving widow/widower. Grieving spouse pays the fake debt
rather than argues. "Your spouse owed us money." "Congratulations! You won our sweepstakes!!! All you have to do is deposit this check of winnings and write us a check to cover taxes." 9. Sweepstakes & Lottery Scams And your check is cashed by the crook. Their Check Bounces Pad the bill with unnecessary expenses. Some disreputable funeral homes overcharge. Fake charities sound real. 8. Charity Scams Haiti Earthquake relief fund. Charity of Katrina Disaster Victims Even some "legitimate" charities only devote a small portion of thier raised funds to the actual cause in their name. Anyone can call themselves a charity. Do your homework!
Don't believe a solicitor. check the organization out yourself! Another tactic: 7. Family or friend impersonation. Grandchild.
In jail, needs bail money. Sent from famliy/friend's hacked email/facebook account. Family got mugged needs money to return home from overseas vacation. Seniors often own their homes! 6. Homeowner/Reverse
mortgage scams Has your information.
(But only public information)
Says it's from the county assessors office.
Offer to reassess your home and reduce your property taxes.
Charges a fee for this service.
Scammer provides instructions for fee payment (not legitimate). You receive an official looking letter. Reverse mortgage scams Reverse mortgages are legitimate products,
are very expensive
have dangerous features.
High fees to tap into your home's equity
Received in lump sum, or cash payments.
Allowed to remain in home. Scammers:
Use complicated contract
Receive legal ownership of your property
Make verbal promises
Contract does not honor verbal promises
Leaves homeowner without legal title to their home, and little cash. Home Improvement Scams Contractors solicit work that is unnecessary.
Demand payment upfront
Skip town 5. Internet Fraud Scams abound on
the internet! Pop-up window:
"your computer has been infected, download free virus protection"
it's a trick
downloads a real virus, malware or spyware Wrong clicks: Sweepstakes
Flashing graphics Phishing 4. Investment Schemes Pyramid Schemes Red Flag:
Any promised return above 10%! Why 10%? Because that is average market return.
Investors almost never beat the market long-term.
Returns are never guaranteed. Nigerian Prince Scheme Exchange Traded Funds
(ETFs) ETFs are complex and usually misunderstood
Promised triple returns Never invest in something you don't fully understand! Free Lunch Semninars "We'll review your finances for free and promise to make you double, triple, or more on investments." 3. TELEMARKETING Seniors make twice as many purchases over the phone as the national average. No paper trail
No face-to-face interaction
Telephone etiquette, can't hang up
Difficult to trace $40 billion
epidemic 809 area code scam: Out of country area code, costs hundreds in fees to call. 2. Health Care Fraud Medicare: Every senior over 65 qualifies for Medicare
Large target for scammers Perpetrators pose as Medicare representatives Offer bogus services
Gather patient information
ID theft Counterfeit prescription drugs Fake drugs hurt your body as well as your wallet
Be sure of the source of your prescriptions Fake anti-aging products Many provide no benefit, some are even dangerous Botox (Botulism neurotoxin) Very toxic substance
Produced by renegade labs
can be very dangerous 1. ID theft Stolen information Credit card number
social security number
passwords Your purse/wallet is stolen: No cash is taken
no cards taken.
They took information
(numbers, addresses, names, etc. Steal mail
Break into home
rummage through trash
break into car
trick you "This is your bank, need to verify information" 10 ways to
protect yourself Don't isolate yourself A network of trusted friends/family can help you with questions and uncertainty 2. But beware
Family and friends are often the culprits in senior fraud Adult children
neices/nephews 3. Telephone or door-to-door solicitors:
"I never buy until I get it in writing."
Hang-up, or say good bye if they refuse. Get contracted services
Never pay up front for promised services or delivery. 5. Enter number on
Do Not Call List www.donotcall.gov
1-888-5-OPT-OUT Do not spend more than a few minutes with a salesman.
Be selfish with your personal information 4. Invest in a shredder Use on all trash that contains your personal information www.dmachoice.org
Direct Marketing Association
P.O. Box 643
Carmel, NY 10512 Reduce unwanted mail. Register with Direct Marketer's Association 9. Monitor your credit
www.annualcreditreport.com 6. Use Direct Deposit Avoid theft of benefit checks at the mailbox, or in the house 7. Never give out your information unless:
You initiate contact
You are sure of the contact info you have i.e. from a statement 8. Be a little skeptical Never take a solicitor at their word
get it in writing
Consult a friend
Carefully read contract 10. Recognize
Red Flags "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."