February 5, 2014

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6 Most Common Scams Against Senior Citizens

It takes an especially despicable individual to scam a senior citizen. Also known as grandparent scams, this type of crime capitalizes on a loved one’s failing memory. Unfortunately, scams against senior citizens are prevalent and run the gamut in complexity from high to low-tech .

As family members/caregivers, it’s important to be apprised of the most common schemes our loved ones might encounter, so that we can take the necessary steps to protect them and safeguard their life savings.

Following are six of the most common scams against senior citizens, as identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

6 Most Common Scams

  1. Healthcare Fraud or Healthcare Insurance; This type of scam involves fraudulent orders for medical equipment, lab tests, or services not delivered that are billed to health insurance or medicare
  2. Counterfeit Prescription Drugs; Be wary of “special offers” for prescriptions or refills that appear different, and pay special attention that online purchases are made from licensed sellers bearing the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site seal of approval
  3. Funeral and Cemetery Fraud; Research prices for services and caskets before visiting a funeral home; don’t allow yourself to be pressured into signing a contract or into making a purchase “on-the-spot”; be sure that you understand contract terms and service specifics; ask someone you trust to accompany you
  4. Fraudulent Anti-aging Products; If a product’s claims are too good to be true, most likely they’re false; don’t fall for celebrity endorsements; when in doubt research with the Better Business Bureau
  5. Telemarketing Fraud; Typical offers for this type of scam involve “for a limited time only” free or specially-priced products or services that pressure the caller into divulging personal information
  6. Internet Fraud; Beware of phishing emails designed to trick you into disclosing personal information, solicitations for donations, or fraudulent online stores; again, when in doubt, research with the Better Business Bureau

 Tips To Help Protect Loved Ones From Scams

  1. Discuss special offers received via phone, mail, or email; never assume the party is who they claim to be.
  2. Do not invite strangers into your home.
  3. Do not sign a contract that looks unfinished or has blank lines.
  4. Never release personal information over the phone
  5. If you pay by credit card, be sure to review statements thoroughly for correct charges
  6. Avoid using debit cards for online purchases or at POS card terminals
  7. If you feel unsafe in any way, call the police.
  8. Research, research, and research.
  9. Make the BBB your best friend.
  10. It’s always OKAY to say NO.


Ezzy Languzzi

Ezzy is a working mother and educator. She writes from the perspective of a parent seeking to strike a balance between all that technology has to offer and its privacy implications. Ezzy lives in Boston with her husband, son, two dogs, and two chickens.

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