Avoiding Holiday Scams: Advice for Caregivers

By Ruby Cemental

It's an unfortunate reality that seniors are often the targets of online, telephone and mail scams. In fact, one report indicates that older Americans lose over $3.6 billion every year as the result of financial scams. During the busy and festive holiday season, scam attempts are at their peak. Awareness is key to avoiding this scams. Here are several steps that you can take to keep those that you love safe from holiday scammers.

Keep Personal Information Safe

Encourage your loved-ones to only share personal information to trusted sources. It's especially important to guard bank account information, credit card numbers and investment information. Banks and retailers typically won't reach out via phone or email to request this sort of data. 

Be Careful When Shopping Online

Online shopping can save time and money, but there are plenty of lookalike sites that specifically target seniors. Minimize risk by always double checking the URL before making a purchase and only shopping from reputable sites. 

Stay on Guard

Emergency scams target well-meaning seniors and their families. Scammers pretend to be a relative who is travelling overseas and has encountered an emergency situation. Seniors may receive an email requesting money. Also a common phone scam, criminals also call seniors and ask them if they can guess who is calling, to get the names of relatives and close friends that their mark might be willing to help. Money should never be sent unless the situation can be reliably verified. 

Don't Trust All Job Offers

It's common for caregivers to get multiple job offers. However, a common scam for caregivers include an individual reaching out to hire you, sight unseen. They may offer to pay you upfront and send a fake check. You might notice language that indicates that the person is "out of town" or "relocating." This is a red flag. Never accept a job with someone you have never met. 

Knowing that scam artists are out there and what type of information should and shouldn't be shared can make all the difference, when it comes to keeping safe from financial fraud. Take the time to talk to the seniors that you love about staying safe this holiday season. 


Tags: Finances, Holidays