According to a 2019 Senate committee report, older adults lose an estimated $2.9 billion each year to financial scams. Law enforcement struggles to fight these scams because they are being executed from foreign call centers beyond their scope.
From the report, the most common scam involved individuals impersonating someone from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) attempting to con seniors by telling them they owe money trying to get personal and financial information. Other prevalent scams this report mentions are robocalls, sweepstakes and lottery scams, computer tech-support scams, elder financial abuse, grandparent scams, romance scams, Social Security impersonations, impending lawsuit scams and identity theft. To help identify these type of scams, the committee suggests you look out for fraudsters who force you to make decisions fast, are aggressive and may threaten you.
More recently, the SEC and Finra posted warnings about new scams that play off our current COVID-19 environment. Fraudsters often take advantage of turbulent times, and the senior population is a primary target due to their perceived trusting nature and availability of cash. Some COVID-19 scams to be aware of are: fraudulen home test kits, how to reserve your vaccine, investment opportunities for research and development of a vaccine, government assistance and payout scams, low-cost health and life insurance scams, prepaid programs to clean and sanitize your home, fraudulent charity emails and websites that claim to help those in need from the virus, and robocalls pitching a variety of scams.
It is more important than ever to not click on any links from sources you do not know. Ignore all online and telephone offers and communication that come from unknown sources. Verify charities and all organizations by checking websites. Talk through anything that seems suspicious with your family members. Report suspected scams to the authorities.
As always, we are here to help verify and talk through any needs or questions you may have.