Senior Living: How To Avoid Scams

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Cons have it easier than ever now as the population of their most vulnerable target market – the elderly – grows. Many seniors are lonely and trusting, and sometimes disoriented, which makes them more susceptible to slick talkers out to make quick cash.

The following are the top five senior scams provided by the National Association of Triads, Inc.:

Prizes and sweepstakes scams.
Seniors are told they’ve won a sweepstakes and asked to send a check to cover the taxes. Or, they receive a fake check for $5,000 and are encouraged to deposit the money and send back $2,000 to cover the taxes. By the time it’s determined that these checks, which often come from an overseas bank, are worthless, the senior has lost his or her money. Magazine sale scams, where seniors order fraudulent magazine subscriptions, also are prevalent.

Home improvement frauds.
Criminals knock on a senior’s door offering to fix the driveway, then paint it black and charge $3,000. Or seniors are asked to pay up front for roof repairs but never see the alleged repairman again.

Phishing schemes.
Seniors receive a call from someone claming to represent a bank or other reputable financial institution. They’re warned that their financial information or credit card has been compromised and are asked to verify their bank account number or call an 800 number where they’re asked for their personal financial information.

Internet fraud.
Seniors, unfamiliar with how to use the Internet, can unwittingly give their credit card number to a scammer.

Identity theft.
Seniors who give up their birth date and Social Security number can open up their entire financial history to a thief.

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