Senior citizens are often targets of con artists looking for victims to scam. These scammers target a person’s emotions and get you to let your guard down.
Scammers use a variety of tactics to part seniors from their money. For instance, grandparent scams feature the scammer calling posing as a grandchild needing money because he or she is hurt or sick. These scammers may even claim they’re in jail and need money for their release. Bottom line, the alleged grandchild always says “don’t tell mom or dad.” Another common scam involves tech support. These scammers call claiming your computer is infected, but it can be fixed for a small fee. They may even ask to access your computer remotely, allowing them to download malware on your computer or to access your personal information.
Sweepstake scams are also common. A check is sent to your house with a letter saying “You’ve won!” Then, it instructs you to deposit the check and wire a portion back to the scammer to cover taxes or some other fee. The problem is the check is counterfeit and you’ve wired away your hard-earned money.
If you know the warning signs, these scams can be avoided. Here are some tips:
• Never give out your personal information (Social Security number, credit card information, bank account number) to anyone you don’t feel comfortable with or are unfamiliar with.
• Never wire money or send pre-paid debit cards to strangers.
• Check in with other family members to confirm the story if a relative calls needing money. Also ask the caller questions only the relative would know. If the caller doesn’t know the answer, it’s a red flag.
• Be wary of someone who calls claiming you won a prize, then asks for payment. Prizes are free.
If you’d like more information on senior scams, join your Better Business Bureau as it participates in a Senior Resource Expo for Elder Abuse Awareness Day on Thursday, June 16, at the Trotwood YMCA, 506 E. Main St., Trotwood, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The event is free to the public and is hosted by the Collaboration Against Abuse Neglect Exploitation (CAANE). The event will feature a presentation from your BBB on identify theft, as well as Scam Bingo, along with a variety of other informative presentations from local community organizations.
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