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As we age, we gain wisdom, experience, and hopefully, a comfortable nest egg to see us through our golden years. Unfortunately, there are some less-than-honorable predators out there who see older adults as easy targets for financial scams. The FBI reported an 84% increase in elder fraud from 2021 to 2022. That’s a terrifying statistic! Let’s dive into some of the most common scams and see how you can protect yourself or your loved ones.
The “Grandchild in Trouble” Scam
You get a call from someone claiming to be your grandchild, saying they’re in trouble and need money immediately. The scammer may even know your grandchild’s name and other personal details. With the development of AI (Artificial Intelligence) we’ve heard some stories about using this technology to mimic the voice of your loved one.
Always verify the identity of the caller. Hang up and call your grandchild or their parents directly to check the story. Never wire money or provide personal information based on a phone call alone.
The “Medicare Fraud” Scam
Scammers pose as Medicare representatives to get personal information. They might offer “free” medical equipment or services as bait.
Medicare will never call to ask for sensitive personal financial information. If you get such a call, hang up and report it to the authorities. No one should be calling you asking you for your personal information. Always look up the number for the institution and call them to verify.
The “Lottery or Sweepstakes” Scam
You receive a call, text message or letter stating that you’ve won a large sum of money but need to pay taxes or fees upfront.
First of all, did you or your loved one even enter your name and contact info into a lottery or sweepstake? If not, it’s a scam. And second, legitimate lotteries and sweepstakes don’t ask for money upfront. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
The “Tech Support” Scam
You get a call or a pop-up on your computer claiming that your system has a virus. The scammer offers to fix it for a fee.
Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you’re sure it’s legitimate. Reputable tech companies don’t make unsolicited calls. Not sure it it’s a scam? Go to a local tech support shop, like Best Buy, and have them check out your computer.
The “Romance” Scam
Someone gains your affection online and then asks for money for various reasons, like a medical emergency or travel expenses.
Be extremely cautious with online relationships. Never send money to someone you haven’t met in person.
Knowledge is power, and being aware of these scams is the first step in protecting yourself. Always double-check information and consult with trusted family or advisors before making any financial decisions. In the end, steering clear of unfamiliar emails and text messages, as well as not sharing your personal information with strangers, can significantly bolster your defenses against financial scams.
I hope this blog post serves its purpose of educating senior citizens and their families about the financial scams they may encounter. Feel free to share it widely!
M & A Consulting Group, LLC, doing business as CAM Investor Solutions is an SEC registered investment adviser. As a fee-only firm, we do not receive commissions nor sell any insurance products. We provide financial planning and investment information that we believe to be useful and accurate. However, there cannot be any guarantees.
This blog has been provided solely for informational purposes and does not represent investment advice. Nor does it provide an opinion regarding fairness of any transaction. It does not constitute an offer, solicitation or a recommendation to buy or sell any particular security or instrument or to adopt any investment strategy.
Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Diversification does not eliminate the risk of market loss. Tax planning and investment illustrations are provided for educational purposes and should not be considered tax advice or recommendations. Investors should seek additional advice from their financial advisor or tax professional.