It is vital seniors be proactive in helping both themselves and their loved ones avoid becoming a victim of fraud. Below are some tips older adults can use to help prevent themselves or a loved one from being tricked by a scam.
1. Do not trust people are who they say they are on the phone.
Scammers often pretend to be from Medicare, Social Security, or law enforcement, and can even impersonate a family member. They may ask for personal information for you to keep your benefits or to keep you or a loved one out of jail. These threats are not legitimate, do not be bullied or frightened into giving out money or information.
2. Remember that if someone on the phone says things like, “You have to pay immediately” or “I just need you to confirm your banking or Medicare number”, to hang up the phone. People asking for money via gift cards or Western Union are also red flags that the call is likely fraudulent, even if you think you know who the person is on the other side of the call.
3. Remember you always have the right to say “no” and end the call.
1. Never respond to emails from people you do not know or to emails you did not expect to receive, especially if they ask for personal information, including Social Security, Medicare, or credit card numbers.
2. Beware of emails impersonating legitimate companies like FedEx, Microsoft, Amazon, or even your bank. Scammers will often use the logos of well-known corporations to impersonate official emails from these companies. However, these fraudsters are just trying to steal your money or information.
3. Beware of people impersonating loved ones on social media websites such as Facebook. Just because the person you are interacting with is using a friend or family member’s photograph and name, it doesn’t always mean that is who you are actually chatting with on the other end of the computer. If they are asking for money or information, stop what you are doing to be 100% sure they are who they claim.
1. Set time aside to review documents you receive in the mail such as Medicare Summary Notices, bank statements, and pension payments to check for suspicious or unauthorized activity.
2. Never send your Social Security number, Medicare number, or banking information to solicitors.
3. Do not respond to sweepstakes letters by sending a check or money to claim a prize.
This article was provided by the nonprofit program Georgia SMP whose mission is to empower seniors to fight against scams and fraud. Georgia SMP offers presentations at no cost to senior groups and communities on how to protect from, detect, and report scams such as those mentioned in this article.
TO REPORT POTENTIAL FRAUD OR TO SCHEDULE A FREE PRESENTATION
CALL GEORGIA SMP AT 877-272-8720
Funded by the U.S. Administration for Community Living (ACL), Administration on Aging (AoA), Grant Number 90MP0194-01-01