Senior citizens have become one of the most vulnerable populations to scam artists. Many healthcare organizations that focus on the elderly community have warned that people suffering from dementia are especially at risk. Because dementia affects the cognitive abilities used to determine a stranger’s true intentions, this population is easily manipulated.
- Fake prizes or sweepstakes. Typically, these scams are ran by large crime rings as opposed to individuals. You are requested to send money which will take care of processing fees and take care of the taxes of your winnings, but you won’t receive any winnings at all.
- Credit card and bank fraud alerts. It is not uncommon to receive phone calls from telephone solicitors informing you that your credit card was stolen and there are fraudulent charges. These solicitors create urgency and panic in the hopes that you will share private information. Before you share any information, research the agency they are representing, take down the phone number and find out whether or not the call was legitimate or fraudulent.
- Door to door salesmen. These salespeople could be offering to sell any item to you but usually at overpriced fees. If you sign a contract, typically there is some hidden or confusing text that includes recurring fees.
How to Prevent Home Scam Artists
- Allow the telephone to go to the answering machine if the number is unknown.
- Don’t open your front door to any unfamiliar faces or simply put a ‘no soliciting’ notice in the front of your home.
- Never give out private numbers such as a social security number until you have done your own research about the agency or bank in question.
- Register phone numbers in the ‘do not call’ registry. (www.donotcall.gov)
How to Prevent Scammers Online
- Try to buy from websites that you are familiar with. If you find a product that is of interest, google search it or try to find it on a more reliable website such as Amazon. If you are unsure if the website is legitimate, typically URLs begin with “https”.
- Make sure that you have anti-virus systems set up in your computer. When an email or websites seems shady, you will typically receive a warning from the virus system warning you of a potential problem with site.
- Do not send private information over the internet. This is a good practiced skill in general. If you receive an email from a health insurance company or bank requesting sensitive information, pick up the phone and call them to ensure that the email is legitimate.