Scam artists have been plying their trade for centuries. Seniors are one of the most common targets of scammers because they're often lonely, isolated, and do not have the savvy to catch scammers in the act. During spring break there are going to be all kinds of scams flying around, and seniors need to be sure they don't get caught up in one. Here is a list of some of the most common scams during this time of year.
1. The "Grandchild in Need" Scam
Our first reaction when we see a family member in trouble is usually to throw them a flotation device. Scammers know this, and it's why the "I'm in trouble, send money" scam is so popular.
A scammer will get hold of someone's email, phone number, or social media, and contact a grandparent with a made-up story about how they're stranded somewhere and need some cash. It's scary, but it never hurts to get more information, and to double-check. Call the parents, call the local authorities in the area, and verify that what you're being told is actually happening. Once the money's been transferred, it's gone.
2. IRS Scam
Taxes are inevitable, and no one wants to get a call from the IRS telling them there's been a problem with their records. But what if the voice on the other end isn't the IRS at all? Seniors, in particular, are vulnerable to this kind of scam because they'll react out of fear.
If someone calls you claiming there's a problem and they need your information, call your actual IRS branch office to check. Most of the time you'll find that the supposed voice on the phone was just trying to get your social security number.
3. Tech Support Scam
Seniors are not the most tech-savvy group of people, and scammers count on that when running the tech support scam. The idea is that they call up a senior, claim to be from a company like Microsoft, and that they've detected a virus on the senior's computer. All they need is some basic information, and they can clear it right up.
For older people who may not know that monitoring services don't work like that, it's important to get off the line, and check with the actual company. Never trust phone calls out of the blue claiming to be in your best interests.
By being aware of scams, seniors can know how to avoid them!