Studies show that as people age, they become more likely to fall victim to financial scams, especially online. The U.S. government estimates that a total of $3 billion each year is taken from seniors through financial scams and abuse.
Our elder abuse attorney in Sherman Oaks details the different scams that seniors face. It’s important for older adults to be aware of these scams so that they can hang up the phone or close out the window before proceeding.
- Government Scams
A very common scam is when con artists call pretending to be the IRS or related to Social Security or Medicare. They will threaten that the senior has not paid enough money for the year and that they are in danger of being arrested or deported if they don’t make a payment immediately. They can also threaten to cut off the flow of payments if they don’t pay their remaining balance. One of the red flags with any scam is that the victim has to make a financial transaction immediately and cannot wait to double-check the information.
- Grandchild Scam
One particularly heinous scam that’s been going around by phone relies on the senior’s love for their grandchildren. Scammers will call an older adult and say something baiting like “Hi Grandma, do you know who this is?” Then, the unsuspecting grandparent says the name of one of their grandchildren, unknowingly helping out the scammer, who will then ask for money.
- Computer Virus Scams
Seniors generally have a lack of knowledge regarding computers and cybersecurity, and scammers will use this to their advantage. A pop-up on their computer will have bright colors and flashing graphics saying that the device is compromised and needs fixing. Sometimes the ad will link to “anti-virus software” or give you a number to call. Then, the senior will pay for the software that they never needed.
- Prize Scams
A very common scam involves opening the call or email with positive news that the senior has won a cash sweepstakes or is eligible for a rebate check. However, once they get the victim excited, they will say that all the senior has to pay for is tax and/or shipping. This is one method to get money from the victim, and they can also go so far as to send the senior a check. Once the senior deposits the check, the scammers take thousands from their bank account.
It’s important to be aware that these scams exist and that you can’t trust everyone. In fact, the majority of elder financial abuse can come from the senior’s own family members. If you are noticing large withdraws coming from your older loved one’s bank account, you may need to call a Sherman Oaks injury lawyer to help you look into the matter further.