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Keep Seniors Safe from Scams
When we think of the dangers of aging, often we only see the physical. It is easy to overlook another risk facing aging Americans: scam artists. According to the FBI, seniors are an attractive target to con artists because they are more likely to have a nest egg, or savings. Seniors tend to be more polite and trusting than younger generations, which also makes them attractive prey. Finally, older Americans aren’t likely to report fraud one it’s been discovered because they aren’t sure where to report the crime and sometimes fear that their family members believe the crime to be evidence of fading cognitive abilities.
There are whole industries dedicated to swindling seniors out of their savings. The best way to fight these con artists is by keeping yourself and your loved ones informed. There are three basic types of scams that target seniors: Phone, Internet and Identity Theft. Speak with your older loved ones about each scam.
Scammers will attempt to get your credit card information over the phone. A common ploy is to call a senior and inform them that there is a problem with a household account. The caller will tell their victim that an essential service will be cut off if they do not give credit card information. Make sure your senior loved ones know to never give out credit card information over the phone unless they are sure to whom they’re speaking. If unsure, seniors should just hang up the phone. It is also a good idea to register your senior loved ones for the Do Not Call list, which will eliminate the dubious phone solicitations of some companies.
Because many seniors did not grow up with computers, some may find navigating the internet a bit tricky. It is important to talk to seniors about internet vigilance. Remind them not to give out or post personal information on line (as that can lead to identity theft), to be careful what links they click and to never give money to Nigerian Princes who are looking for a way to get their inheritance out of the country.
Any documents that contain personal information including social security numbers, account numbers or other identifying information should be shredded before it is thrown out. Make sure seniors know that these documents are fodder for identity thieves. Seniors should know not to give out this data on the internet or via phone as well.
To ensure your loved ones stay safe from fraudsters, it may behoove you to take the lead. Talk to your loved ones about common scams, encourage them to be skeptical of those they don’t know and help them carefully monitor their financial accounts and credit. At Capital City Nurses, we know that growing older can be a beautiful experience, as long as you’re prepared for some of the common risks that come with aging.