My dad turned 80 this year. The man has a love for life and energy levels that rival those in their 40s.
He says as a V8 (yes, like the engine), he has many more experiences to explore. As far as he is concerned, anyone over the age of 80 is in the fast lane of life.
He’s embraced social media, email and is lost without his iPhone. He is as savvy as they come and yet, he almost fell victim to a common elder scam.
He received an urgent “message” from a “friend” of one of my cousins. She informed him that his niece was robbed in Singapore, had no phone or wallet and needed money wired to her so she could fly home. She also said my cousin wanted to keep this from her parents until she returned safely so they wouldn’t worry.
Normally this would be dismissed; but in fact, my cousin had mentioned she’d be in Singapore for work. Luckily, my Dad doesn’t believe in secrets. He immediately called his brother, who informed him she wasn’t due to leave for Singapore until the following month and they were actually having brunch together.
If my Dad had just been swept away by emotion, he could have easily fallen for this.
According to the National Council on Aging, financial scams targeting seniors are considered by perpetrators as “low-risk” crimes. Most victims aren’t aware they’ve been duped until after the accounts are depleted or drained.
Here are three of the most common senior scams.
1. Medicare/health insurance scams
Scammers pretend to be Medicare representatives and collect personal information from victims. They then use the information to bill Medicare for fake services and pocket the money.
2. Counterfeit prescription drugs
Seniors trying to save money on prescription drugs often head to the Internet in search of discounts. Unfortunately, they are too often duped into paying for placebos or unknown drugs that don’t treat their medical conditions.
3. Funeral and cemetery scams
Here, scammers exploit seniors when they are most vulnerable. They contact grieving widows or widowers and claim the deceased owed them money, and attempt to collect on a fake debt.
How DuGood Can Help
Scams can happen to the best of us. That’s why DuGood offers several services with your safety in mind!
When it comes to financial decisions a little knowledge goes along way. Be sure to educate your elderly loved ones and help prevent elder abuse. If you suspect that you or a loved one could be a victim of a scam, please don’t hesitate to call the credit union immediately at (409) 899-3430.