Be prepared against scammers targeting seniors

Many people have already heard this one – the voice on the phone warns that you “owe the IRS hundreds or thousands of dollars, and they will shortly be coming to arrest you. To avoid that, call this number . . .”

Scammers posing as governmental officials, such as IRS agents or Social Security representatives, make a very good living separating seniors from their money and private information. They may call you on the phone, send you emails, or just hack your credit card or bank account. 

While there is no end to the tricks they use, keeping in mind some easy-to-use responses can help keep your finances and personal info secure. The best thing to do is hang up the phone! If you don’t recognize the number or voice, don’t give them any information, including your full name, birthdate, Social security or medicare numbers, or any financial information at all. Even answering yes or no to their questions can give them something to go on, so do not continue the conversation. Hang up!

The same goes for information online or on your phone. Any email that asks for private information will not be from the IRS, Social Security, etc. unless they have already confirmed it through a letter in the mail or in response to your own inquiries. “Clickbait” on websites you frequent are often the first step in harvesting your information, so don’t click on any interesting news or celebrity item, photo, etc. that’s designed to catch your eye or interest. “Interest surveys,” “Forward this if you  . . .” and cute videos or jokes on Facebook, for example, are often used by companies or scammers to collect your data. 

If you’re a caregiver to a vulnerable senior, it’s important to monitor their mail and online accounts to make sure they aren’t being taken advantage of. Be proactive in getting involved with their financial matters, and involve their bankers or even law enforcement if you suspect they may be taken advantage of. 

For more information check any of these helpful websites below:

How to Prevent Elders from Being Scammed
Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts
Government impostor scams prey on fear during pandemic, BBB study finds

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