It seems the more sophisticated security becomes, so do the scammers. It’s heartbreaking to hear of people being scammed out of money, in particular, seniors.
It’s important that people are aware of what to look for regarding potential scams. Our seniors often are targeted because they believe that what is being told to them is true.
Red Flags to Watch For
Scammers can approach people in many ways, online, over the phone, and even in person, like going door-to-door or in public places like shopping malls or parks.
You’ve Won a Prize
This is a popular scam. They call someone up and tell them they have won a prize. The catch is that they must pay a fee to get it. The fee is often explained as shipping charges or a release charge.
If you are not sure or if you don’t remember entering a contest, just hang up. No legitimate contest would require you to send them money. If you genuinely won something, they would get it to you.
There is a Problem
Often, scammers will call and say there is a problem with your account or credit card. Never give out your card number or your password. Your bank will always identify itself, but more importantly, it will ask you for your security questions.
If this happens, hang up and call your bank right away. Let them know what happened and they will be able to see if there is a problem or concern. You can report the call and the number.
All too often, scammers will claim to be from an organization or charity that you are familiar with. It is also not uncommon for the actual charity to call you during fundraising events.
Be wary of the method of payment they require. If they ask you to deposit money into an account, send a cheque written out to cash, make a wire transfer, or put money on a gift card, don’t do it.
Hang up and then call the organization or charity yourself. When organizations are fundraising, the payments are almost always done directly to them via a credit card.
Another way scammers get around people is to make unreasonable demands. They may say you are going to be charged or arrested, they may tell you someone in your family is in trouble, or even someone you know.
Just ignore these calls or emails. Block the number and report them. Call someone you know and trust to get more information, as this is not how these things work.
If they make threats against your family, hang up and call them right away. They are often simply guessing that you have a grandchild, son, or husband. Don’t cave in because they try to scare you.
Texts, Emails, Pop-Up Ads
Don’t open any suspicious emails, texts, or other offers online. Avoid any attachments that may be with them. These can contain a virus or some type of spyware.
Don’t ever give out your passwords of any kind to anyone unless you are sure they are legit. People can access your computer and then they can access all your information, like your bank, emails, and other information.
Too Good to Be True
If it sounds too good to be true, it most often is. It can be difficult for seniors to be wary but it’s important that they trust no one who seems like they are fishing. It takes very little to access people’s lives through their computers or phone.
If you are unsure, hang up or delete the text or email, and contact the company yourself.