Scammers love seniors. That’s because seniors tend to have:
- Significant savings.
- Excellent credit.
- Home ownership.
- Trusting and unsuspecting predispositions.
- Unfamiliarity with latest tech advances used to gain instant access to private information.
- Vulnerability to products that promote longevity, vitality, disease prevention, and cognitive improvement.
- Decreasing memories that protect con artists from detection and capture.
- Plenty of time to answer baiting phone calls.
- Loneliness and isolation that make them prey to ‘kind’ callers.
Once victimized, seniors are also least likely to know where to turn for help. And even if they do eventually seek out support, older victims often do not remember the details and therefore make poor witnesses.
Even worse, elderly people often do not even realize they have been swindled at first. Weeks can pass before the true impact unveils itself.
By then, their identities, savings, home deeds, and other vital financial and personal items have been stolen. And the perpetrators have long vanished.
Years of diligent savings disappear in minutes with scams such as the one recently perpetrated by a Florida conman on an unsuspecting 64 year old.
That scam entailed a “free” Windows upgrade that would ultimately infect the woman’s computer with a damaging virus. And lead her to purchase a program to ‘fix’ the problem.
But instead, that program enabled the crook to hack into her information and transfer money from her retirement account to her checking account. And then ask for a cashier’s check to reimburse the ‘accidental’ refund from her retirement account. Guess who she was instructed to send that reimbursement check to?
With a sizable retiree population, Florida seniors are constant targets.
But they can protect themselves by following these tips:
- Always be suspicious of unsolicited telephone, text or email offers.
- Know the most common ploys targeting seniors.
- Sign up for free scam alerts from the Federal Trade Commission.
- Never disclose private information to unsolicited callers. Typical scammers that request such info claim to be from: the IRS, Microsoft, Amazon or any other internet company, a charity, an online provider, a large well-known company, or an organization you have done business with in the past. Legitimate organizations, companies and government agencies never call asking for private, financial information.
- Do an instant online search of the person and/or company while still on the phone. The results should immediately reveal posts from others describing the scam. Hang up without delay.
- Ask for the solicitor’s return phone number and tell him you will call back later. You will likely be told to call back instantly or the deal will be rescinded—a definite red flag. Instead, hang up, search that number online and contact a trusted adviser to help you investigate. You can try that number several hours later—and almost undoubtedly get a disconnected or non-existing number.
- Do NOT pay for anything in advance that involves debt relief, loan aid or a job opportunity.
- Always hang up on robocalls.
- Be very suspicious of free offers and prizes.
- Do not trust Caller ID. It is very easily manipulated by con artists just to fool you.
- Resist pressure to make immediate decisions, purchases, money transfers, or disclosure of personal information. Scammers may be persistent, aggressive and even threatening. Scare tactics are typical, such as suggesting an imminent home foreclosure or hefty tax penalty. Do not fall prey to such traps.
- Do not wire money, send checks or transfer funds to strangers—including online ‘friends’.
At Silverman Financial, we are trusted retirement planners available anytime to answer questions about unsolicited financial offers. Whether you are a current client or a future client. We will always protect you.