Unfortunately, fraud and schemes that target senior citizens are a fact of life. Don’t let yourself lose your time and money to a scammer! Learn these warning signs of fraud so that you know how to protect yourself.
Warning Signs of Fraud
Do you know a senior who has been targeted by elder fraud? It can be embarrassing to admit you’ve been had, but cons targeted at senior citizens are more common and effective than many people realize. This kind of fraud costs seniors in the United States millions of dollars every year, creating anger, embarrassment, and even financial difficulties for the victims. You can help yourself avoid the stress and loss of money by watching for these warning signs of fraud.
What Are Common Forms of Elder Fraud?
The mechanics of scams are complicated, but they usually start with someone attempting to gain your trust. Elder fraud scammers typically follow a strategy that exploits everyday senior needs and difficulties, often via the internet or text message:
- Companionship fraud involves feigning an interest in getting to know a senior to gain access to their resources. This can sometimes be known as “catfishing.” Another type of relationship fraud can occur when someone pretends to be a family member or old friend that needs financial assistance for an emergency.
- Tech support fraud occurs when a scammer pretends to be a tech support representative or another expert offering to “fix” your computer or cell phone. These contacts can appear legitimate initially but will lead to requests for payment or personal information.
- Investment fraud targets seniors with pensions or other assets that can be leveraged into cash. Fraudsters will encourage seniors to invest in “risk-free” money-making strategies like investments or real estate, only for their targets to later learn that the offered program is fake.
- Home repair fraud occurs when a senior is approached at their home by someone claiming to be a contractor or serviceman. They often offer cheap work in return for a downpayment, only to leave forever once the money is secured.
How Can I Spot a Scammer?
You may feel like it’s easy to spot a scam, but think again. Elder fraud is becoming increasingly sophisticated, and even savvy seniors can be fooled by a good con artist. However, some telltale warning signs of fraud can help you avoid taking the bait:
- If you receive an unsolicited message from an unknown sender or someone you know is contacting you from an unfamiliar email address or phone number, be careful. It could be someone impersonating somebody else.
- Time pressure is a common aspect of fraud. If you feel pressured to act immediately, a scammer might be trying to trick you into acting before you have time to think or verify their claims.
- Some scammers use spam email addresses or fake websites to impersonate real institutions. A reliable business will never ask for your personal or financial information via text message or email. Typos and unusual formatting in emails and text messages can also be red flags for elder fraud.
- If payment details are unusual or overly complicated, that might be a scammer trying to cover their tracks. Financial details of any transaction should be transparent and make sense to you.
These warning signs of fraud can help you keep yourself and your wallet safe from scam artists. If you suspect you’ve been a victim of fraud, reach out to your local police department.
At Springhouse Village, we encourage our residents to explore their interests and offer a wide range of activities and events so that there’s always something interesting happening. We make it easy for our residents to be active participants in our community. Whether that means encouraging residents to join an exercise class or assisting them in starting a garden club, we strive to help our residents thrive. To learn more about the amenities and services we offer, contact Springhouse Village today by sending us a message online or calling 417-708-3403.