We’ve all heard the horror stories. A friend of a friend had a distant relative who was swindled out of thousands of dollars by an Internet scammer. Thousands of seniors every year are victims of fraud or scam, and new types of con artists are popping up every year. Luckily, there are a few resources that are out there that will help you prevent these issues. Below are a few keys resources that should help you or your loved one battle these senior scams.
Senior Scams Resources
Local News Stations
A growing trend when it comes to local journalism has actually been a senior-focused segment dedicated to helping the elderly. In many cases, vigilant senior citizens will report to a news station of a suspected fraud or scam that they may have been approached by. The news station will then try to track down other possible victims of the fraud and figure out how they can prevent it from happening to others. This watchdog role that many local media outlets are playing is a great resource for those who want to keep an eye out for possible scams and frauds that may arise.
The Elderwatch Foundation was created by AARP to protect the elderly against senior scams. The website is a great resource for those who want to look out for scam and fraud trends as well as find reliable resources when dealing with personal information. The resource is dedicated to fighting the financial exploitation of seniors. Resources include links to the Federal Trade Commission and the Attorney General’s website so you can report any frauds or scams that you come across. Also included on the site are articles that detail any recent scams as well as helpline numbers to report senior scams in your area.
The Medicare website is also a great tool to use if you want to find out the exact information you’ll need when applying or reenrolling for Medicare. One of the biggest senior scams is the Medicare scam, where thieves will try to coerce personal information from you so they can use to take advantage of you financially in the future, or they will provide bogus services for elderly people at makeshift mobile clinics, then use the personal information they provide to bill Medicare and pocket the money. These scams have increased over the years so make sure you know exactly who you or your loved one is giving out their personal information to.
Another major scam to look out for is those magical products that you absolutely must need in your home. Whether it’s a new lotion that will zap wrinkles or a fancy TV that costs thousands of dollars, make sure to do your research when making major purchases. A site like Consumer Reports will rate and review a variety of different products so you can get an unbiased opinion when it comes to the latest and greatest products. Many brands will specifically market products towards seniors and assume that they won’t research the product itself. However, with the help of Consumer Reports and other product reviewing websites, you or your loved one can ensure that you’re getting a reliable product.
National Do Not Call Registry
A good amount of senior scams initially start with a phone call, so getting on the National Do Not Call Registry is a great way to lessen the likelihood that scammers will call. This registry will reduce a number of sales and spam calls you’ll typically receive on a weekly basis. While this does not cover all potential frauds and scams, it can greatly decrease the chance that you’ll receive a phone call from a potential thief.