Unfortunately, there are bad guys out there just looking for a quick scam and many of them target people age 60 or over. We wanted to share some of the most common scams to help you avoid falling prey to them!
Tech Support – those who are over age 60 didn’t grow up with technology and with it growing so fast these days, it’s hard to keep up with the constant changes. The bad guys like to try to work this to their advantage. They usually set up ads on the internet or social media advertising tech support or password recovery. They offer diagnostic services – which will show that your computer or device is infected with viruses and offer to help you clean them and prevent future issues. If you do – now the bad guys have your credit card information! Beware!
Credit Card Interest Reduction – the caller offers to help you lower your interest rate to as low as zero percent. But of course- you have to give them all your personal information! Don’t do it!
Money Transfer Systems – this one takes many forms – maybe you’ve won the lottery and just need to send x dollars for processing fees and taxes. Or the bad guys may pose as a charity and ask you to transfer money. Or they may pose as sellers on eBay or similar sights and once you pay – they never mail the product. Just be careful any time you are sending money.
Romance schemes – the bad guys reach out to single women and friend them through social media or chat rooms. They act as though they really understand you until they get you to trust them. And then there is some emergency or business deal or something that requires money. They may not outright ask you for the money – but since you are such good friends – they talk to you about what they could do if they had the money and are very sly about how they make the request. And of course – once you send the money – you never hear from them again.
Grandparent scams – you receive a call that your grandchild has been in an accident and in order to transport them to the hospital, they need x amount of dollars. Or they say your grandchild is in jail and needs x amount of dollars to be released on bail. There is always some reason why the grandchild can’t speak to you and there is some urgency with the request.
IRS scams - Initial communication from the IRS is typically by a letter delivered by the US Postal Service. IRS does not correspond with taxpayers via email or social media. It is possible – depending on the circumstance – that an IRS agent might call you or show up at your door – but normally they call or show up AFTER sending you a written notice or letter. If they show up at your door – ask for credentials. An IRS representative should always have 2 forms of credentials – a pocket commission and a Personal Identity Verification Credential. Ask to see them! Also know that if an IRS representative is for payment of late or overdue taxes, they should never ask that payment be made to any source but the US Treasury.
The best way to avoid these scams is NEVER give your personal or financial information to anyone over the phone or through a link that you did not initiate. Make sure your computers anti-virus software is up to date. Make sure if you are shopping online – that you are on a secure website. If you are unfamiliar with the online store or product – check them out for complaints before ordering. If you can’t find them on Better Business Bureau – Google them and see what comes up. Also beware of charities that want contributions in cash or gift cards. The best rule of thumb is - If in doubt – then don’t!