Seniors: Beware of Scammers!
There are so many senior scams on the internet. It makes me ill that some folks make a living off others, especially vulnerable seniors, who don’t know they are playing the game…
Seniors need to realize that there are friendly-sounding seniors online who know you are longing for friendship. They use that to lure you into a conversation, you begin to trust them, and BAM! They need money for an unexpected emergency (over and over).
Scams are often targeted at seniors because older folks are often more trusting and just might be more vulnerable to the senior scam. I hope anyone reading this knows I can always be contacted if you think you found a scam. I will try to help!
I get unsolicited “friend” requests on Facebook daily. The majority are good looking military men, in uniform — BUT look carefully at their page. It’s brand new, with no friends, and only a few photos. They have no history of posting as they are only seeking a few friends to scam. I report these scammers to Facebook daily and they DO remove the account, but that won’t stop these scammers, as they make many new accounts each day. If you get new friends on Facebook, check out their profile, in the least, before you approve as a friend. Dr. Phil’s tv show has shown seniors who were in LOVE with someone from FB, and were totally scammed out of lots of their savings!
Do you realize that in some places, like Nigeria, there are offices full of workers using cut and paste messages to write to you? They barely speak English but they can cut and paste pre-written messages into an email or FB. Yikes!
You probably never even heard this word… well, it means receiving emails that LOOK like they are legitimately from your bank or some other organization. The email asks for social security or other sensitive information. However, they are used to steal your identity. These fake emails even use the bank’s logo, and look totally convincing. Don’t believe it! Make a quick phone call first!
If you receive an odd email that sounds like it’s a senior scam, if they ask you for personal info, THINK TWICE! Don’t click, don’t reply, don’t even open the email if something looks “off” as malware can be transferred to your computer.
Over the years, I’ve received emails several times from Good Friends who are suddenly overseas and lost their wallet. The first time, I almost sent money. I was shocked she was stuck somewhere. Oddly enough, the friend that emailed me was a world traveler, so it seemed reasonable that this could really happen to her. BUT it was a scam. After this first time, I’ve received several others and usually just advise the person… they don’t even know their email account was hacked, and that everyone in their address book was sent the email asking for help!
Bottom Line: Even if your good friend or family asks for odd information or money, don’t do it... call them first!!
f you get a call or email saying you won money in a lottery from another country… if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is! The real catch: you usually have to send money upfront, before they can send you the winnings. We all know this doesn’t sound right... don’t let the idea of great winnings go to your head! Finally, believe it or not, sometimes you will even receive a phony check. These are illegal and sometimes part of a money-laundering scam!
My 85-year old mother donated to oodles of charities by mail. She loved receiving lots of calendars, address labels, and all that. After years of donating, she finally realized what was happening (with a little help from me) and she cut back dramatically.
Today — at age 93, she writes “Return to Sender” when she gets these new unsolicited mailings. These charity scams might even appear to be police or fire departments, but may be scamming to get money for a fake charity.
To protect yourself, always check with your Better Business Bureau on a new charity that you are not familiar with.
Today, our world is full of unsolicited phone calls. Sometimes it’s easy to ignore calls when they are out of our area. Let them leave a message and then you can listen and hit delete.
I am VP of a local retiree organization and must take local calls — well, these smart scammers are now using local numbers! Seriously?
My sister just turned 62 and applied for Social Security. She got a call from someone saying they were from Social Security and there was an error on her application (smart: they knew she was 62 and likely applied, right?) and if she didn’t fix it immediately — they had to call the Police. My sister is no dummy — but she DID believe it was Social Security and started to ask questions, only to suddenly realize Social Security wouldn’t know her phone number! She called me immediately to say she can’t believe she fell for it, even for a few minutes!
Beware Seniors — Beware!
Do Not Call Registry — add your phone number and report scammer calls here too.
Federal Trade Commission — SCAMS: Click to see all the scams they’ve investigated.
You can learn lots more from the Consumer Information page on the Federal Trade Commission site.