Scams That Target Senior
Millions of senior citizens have fallen victim to
scammers. Better Business Bureau serving New Mexico and Southwest Colorado encourages
families to keep the lines of communication open with their elders and to
recognize some common cons targeting senior citizens.
warns against the following scams that commonly target senior citizens:
Grandparent Scams - Scammers will often try to
take advantage of the increased vulnerability of senior citizens who have
recently lost a loved one. In one recent example, BBB received a call from an
elderly woman who stated a scammer, posing as her grandson, called her from
Mexico. The scammer said he got into trouble and was in jail. He then asked the
victim if she could wire him money for bail but asked that she not tell his
parents because he was embarrassed. The scammer knew the name of the victim as
well as the name of her grandson. It appears the scammer may have taken this
information from an obituary of the victim's recently deceased husband.
Advice: Let your elders know of this scam. Many
times just making people aware that these types of scam exist is enough to
keep them from falling victim.
Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams -Typically, the victim
receives a letter in the mail stating they have won a lottery or sweepstakes;
it might even claim to be from Publisher's Clearing House or Reader's Digest.
The letter instructs the victim to deposit an enclosed check and then wire a
portion back to the company to cover taxes or administration fees. While the
funds will initially show up in the bank account, the money will be removed
when the bank determines the check is fake. The victim is out whatever they
wired back to the scammers—often amounting to thousands of dollars.
Advice: Never wire money to someone you don't know.
You should never have to send money to receive any winnings from a lottery
Medicare Scams - Commonly, a scammer will claim to be
with Medicare and ask for personal information such as Medicare, Medicaid,
social security, credit card or bank account numbers. The victim might be given
any number of excuses to provide this information including that an error needs
to be fixed, that he or she is part of a survey or eligible to receive free
products or can sign up for a new prescription drug plan.
Advice: Remind your elderly family members that
Medicare will never call to ask for sensitive personal financial