Protecting Seniors Against Scams

Vita
February 26, 2019
phone scam and senior on phone

More scammers are targeting older adults, viewing them as wealthy individuals who are more trusting than younger adults. Older adults may also be experiencing loneliness, making them more willing to listen to others, and it is believed that they are less likely to report being scammed. Additionally, scam cases against seniors are more difficult to prosecute.

confused phone call

There are several common scams that target older adults. In scams involving Medicare, individuals pose as Medicare representatives, encouraging older adults to give them their personal information, such as their Medicare identification number. Scammers use this information to bill Medicare for fraudulent services and then pocket the money.

In telephone scams, scammers get older adults to send them money or gift cards for family members who might be in trouble. Scammers might also pose as fake charities and try to get seniors to donate, or they may offer low cost vitamins and medications or inexpensive vacations. Other scammers may tell older adults that they have won a prize, but need to pay a fee to claim the prize. They may also claim they are from a government agency and that there are unpaid taxes or parking tickets.

It is important to do what you can to protect seniors from scams, and One MacDonough Place Executive Director Jennifer Cavallaro offers the following tips on how you can protect yourself, or a loved one, from falling victim to a scam:

  • Be suspicious of telephone calls, letters and emails that promise things.
  • Ask questions. Obtain the name, address and phone number of the person you talk to. 
  • Never give out personal information on the telephone or online, including social security numbers, your birth date, credit card information and bank information.  
  • Don’t make any quick decisions. If someone on the phone is pressuring you to make a quick decision, question that. Never hand over any money until you’ve done your research. 
  • Don’t pay money to collect a prize.  
  • Remember this saying: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
  • Always verify who you’re sharing personal information with, or providing money to, before you give any information.  
  • Don’t pay in advance for services. 
  • Regularly talk about the risks of being scammed to raise their awareness and protect assets.  

If you, or a loved one, are a victim of a scam, you should:

  • Report the incident to your local police department.
  • Notify the bank involved.
  • Notify the Better Business Bureau, if appropriate
  • Contact Adult Protective Services. You can call 1-800-677-1116 to find your local Adult Protective Service’ office.  

About One MacDonough Place

overhead view of senior on phone

One MacDonough Place is an assisted living community owned by Middlesex Health. It is located in Middletown.

For more information about One MacDonough Place, visit onemacdonoughplace.org or call 860-358-5802.

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