Fraud & Scams Targeting Seniors and Baby Boomers

Teri Bartl
Teri Bartl

Despicable people continue to invent dastardly ways to separate us from our money. Technology changes so fast, is it hard to keep up with the latest frauds and scams. Here are some of the current scams to be on the lookout for.

Grandchild Scams

If your grandchild called you and said they needed money to get them out of jail, or for a medical emergency, would your heart skip a beat? Would you want to help? Would you be scared for their safety?  That is why this scam works.  That and the fact that they tell you it must be kept a secret.

Scammers can get information from social media sites or hacking into your grandchild’s account to get just enough information to convince you the call is real. They will pressure you to send money before you have time to think. They will try to convince you something terrible will happen to your loved one.

Here is what you can do:

  1. STOP! Check it out. Look up your grandchild’s phone and call it yourself.
  2. Call another family member.

Tech Support Scams

Watch for pop up screens on your computer that say your computer IS INFECTED! They messages look real. They look may look like they are from Microsoft or Apple or a trusted internet service in your area. They tell you there are viruses or malware on your computer.  It says you MUST CALL a number or you may lose your data. These are most likely scammers that want to sell you useless services, steal your credit card number, or install malware on your computer. Malware allows the perps to see pretty much see everything on your computer.

Here is what you can do:

  1. STOP! Don’t call or click any links. If you don’t know how to close the pop-up by clicking on the ‘x’ in the upper right corner, shut off the computer. If you know how, go in to settings and block all pop-ups. OR:
  2. Call an expert to install anti-virus, anti-malware software and to help you block pop-ups.

Health Care Scams

The perps are after your social security number, your financial information or your insurance number so they can rip you off. These scammers follow the headlines, so look for this during open enrollment for Medicare and Medical Supplements. Look for ads on TV (yes TV – they advertise their scam on TV), telephone calls offering discounts or telling you they are the government and need to issue a new Medicare card.

Here is what you can do:

  1. STOP! Call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), do some research, call a local Medicare broker.

IRS Imposter Scams

This degenerate calls and represents him or herself as an IRS agent. They say you owe back taxes. You are threatened with a law suit or revocation of your driver’s license or some other scary thing. But, they say you can pay with a pre-paid debit card. How thoughtful….. They want you to buy the card and then pay them with numbers from the card.

Be aware they may know your social security number, and the call may have a Washington DC area code. How do you know if it is really the IRS?

  1. The IRS will never call about unpaid taxes. They send letters in the mail.
  2. The IRS will not ask for taxes to be paid by wire transfers or pre-paid credit cards.
  3. The IRS will not ask for money over the phone.
  4. Remember, caller ID numbers can be faked.

Here is what you can do:

  1. STOP! Don’t wire money or pay anything by prepaid debit card or credit card.
  2. Call the IRS at 800-829-1040 and report the scam or go to irs.gov.

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