Friday, January 17, 2014

Scams our Seniors need to be made aware of

We've all worked mighty hard to get ready for retirement. So, the last thing in the world we want is to lose even a portion of what we've saved. 
But that's what's happening as a legion of scam artists targeting seniors and retirees gets bolder and more treacherous. Their activity revs up during the holidays. And the data breaches at Target and other retailers mean everyone, especially seniors and retirees, needs to be more vigilant about protecting their personal information. 
A MetLife survey estimated that seniors older than 60 have lost nearly $3 billion a year to financial abuse. And surprisingly, much of this abuse is not from strangers. 
"They are often friends and families and neighbors," says senior fraud expert and independent consultant Marion Somers. 
"There are a lot of bad guys out there," she says. There are lots of scams. According to the experts, here are the most popular among the crooks. And be especially careful giving out your personal information — that is what many of them are after, says Somers, who operates the website And people need to be as protective of their Medicaid information as they are of their Social Security number.
The article mentions 7 of the latest scams out there. Here are two of the seven:
1. Advanced fee (and lottery) scam. "They want you to pay for something you didn't order," says Summers. Most popular among these is the lottery scam or the inheritance scam, she says. 
"They call and tell them they won this large prize and tell this person they need to send money for fees, to pay taxes or some type of insurance to receive the money," says Angela Byers, financial crimes section chief for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington. "After they've paid some, they keep getting them to pay more. They haven't won the lottery. They've never played. I'm not sure why they completely fall for that." 
"Never pay for anything you haven't ordered, that includes those books that keep coming," says Somers. "When you pay for that book by check, they know where you are checking. They are getting information. Never give out any personal information." 
2. Grandparent scam. This one starts with a call from someone claiming to be a grandchild. 
"They will call as the grandchild in some crisis situation where thy need money urgently, and beg them to send the money and not call the parent," says Byers. "They are crying. It is someone posing as the grandchildren. They are saying they are in a foreign country," she says. "You wire them money, and then try to get them to wire more." 
"People are so willing to help their grandchildren, they will do whatever," says Doug Shadel, AARP Washington state director and expert on senior fraud. "They don't ask questions. These impostor scams are happening all over the country."
Find out the other 5 scams and read the full article HERE.

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