It seems like you can’t turn on the TV news or visit your favorite news website without seeing yet another story about financial scams.
According to the FBI, seniors lose more than $3 billion every year to con artists.
Let’s examine some of the most common financial scams.
The government impostor scam is probably the most common one around. In this one, the scammer calls their target and pretends to be from the IRS, Social Security Administration, Medicare, or something similar.
They may tell you that you have unpaid taxes and will be arrested if you don’t pay up. Or they may suggest your Social Security or Medicare benefits are about to be cut off unless you provide personal information.
Some fraudsters are so sophisticated they can even make the phone number they’re calling from appear to be the actual number of the agency they’re pretending to represent.
The Grandparent Scam
With the grandparent scam, the bad guy will call an older person and say, “hi grandpa, do you know who this is?” Once the grandpa throws out a name, the fraudster says “yes” and pretends to be that person. And from there, it’s off to the criminal races. The crook will request money for an unexpected expense like a car repair or overdue rent and they’ll ask the grandparent to promise they won’t tell anyone. And, because these scammers typically ask to be paid by wire transfer or gift cards, once the money is gone, it’s generally gone for good.
Because every American 65 or older automatically receives Medicare, scammers already have an easy in to try their con. In this scam, the crook will typically pose as a Medicare representative requesting personal information like a Social Security number, date of birth, bank account, or something similar.
But ask yourself why someone from Medicare would be calling you for your birthday or Social Security number. After all, if you’re already enrolled in Medicare, isn’t it obvious they already have your personal information? If something feels off during a conversation it probably means something really is off.
With computer scams, the crook preys on the fact that some older folks feel intimidated by modern technology. When you’re working on your computer, a pop-up message or a black screen will suddenly appear telling you your device needs repair. When you call the number that’s given to you, the fraudster will either request remote access to your computer or will demand payment for a repair.
If you receive this message and aren’t comfortable dealing with it yourself, turn off your computer and ask a trusted family member or friend for help. You can also take it to a repair service like Geek Squad.
Advisory services are offered through Buska Wealth Management, LLC, a SEC Investment Advisor. Insurance products and services are offered through Buska Retirement Solutions, Inc., an affiliated company. Buska Retirement Solutions, Inc. and Buska Wealth Management, LLC are not affiliated or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any government agency.
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