*Originally posted May 15, 2019. Updated May 14, 2020*
The global senior population has been declared the most vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic — not only to the virus but also to scams and fraud. Our older population is a favorite target for identity thieves and scam artists because of the assets they’ve accumulated, the lower amounts of debt that they have, their trusting nature, and unfamiliarity with technology. It’s estimated that seniors lose $36.5 billion per year due to financial exploitation.
In response to the rise in fraudulent schemes targeting older adults, the U.S. Congress designated May 15th as National Senior Fraud Awareness Day to focus on awareness, education, and improvement of prevention tactics to safeguard senior citizens, who account for nearly 15% of the total U.S. population.
Seniors Beware: Three Coronavirus Scams
- Government Imposter Scams | The Social Security Administration (SSA) is warning Medicare beneficiaries that scammers may try to use this pandemic to pose as the U.S. Treasury Department, the Internal Revenue Service, the SAA, and other government agencies through phone calls, emails, text messages, or other communications to collect your personal information and Social Security number. In 2019, government imposter scams were at an all-time high, with more than 63,000 reports of imposters pretending to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Government agencies will never contact you by phone for such information. All communications are sent through the postal service. Here are more tips to protect your medical identity.
- Stimulus Check | As a recipient of Social Security benefits, you are also eligible to receive up to $1,200 as a government stimulus check — a major target for fraudsters. Keep in mind, your economic impact payment will be directly deposited into the bank account used for your tax returns in 2018-2019, or a check will be mailed to your home. The IRS will not call you, text you, or email you for more information, and you will receive a letter in the mail 15 days after your payment has been issued with instructions on what to do if you have not received it or have any issues.
- Fake Miracle Cures | The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that there are “no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges, or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure coronavirus.” All medical advice and treatment should be directed by a medical professional. False miracle health claims are a rouse to collect your personal financial and medical details. Reports of phone calls, texts, and emails from the CDC offering a reservation for the coronavirus vaccine has caused police departments to warn individuals against the scam and to not to disclose payment information or Social Security numbers over the phone.
Remind your loved ones that they should never give out personal, financial, or medical information over the phone. For yourself or your older family members, IdentityForce is here to monitor your sensitive personal, credit, and financial information 24/7/365, and alert you to suspicious activity in near real-time. Access our best identity theft protection today by getting started with a Free Trial.