Everyone has received fraudulent emails or phone calls before. And unfortunately, sometimes, it is difficult to detect what is the truth and what is a scam. Many scam artists target older adults in an attempt to tap into their savings. The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging states that the current estimate suggests that older Americans lose $2.9 billion each year to financial scams (National Council on Aging). You do not have to be a victim of these crimes. Learn the warning signs to detect when someone is trying to scam you.
Hang up on Government Imposters
If you receive a call from a toll-free number that you do not recognize, do not pick up. If you do, and the caller is claiming that your account has been locked or compromised, hang up. Do not provide any information. If you want to know if it is a legit claim, contact the appropriate authorities and they will help you.
Do Not Accept Offers for “Free” Medical Equipment or Tests
Medicare covers a wide range of services and durable medical equipment. This is a common area that scammers tap into to target older adults. You should only accept information from trusted providers.
Check Your Medicare Summary Notice
Your Medicare Summary Notice provides information on what services and providers have billed your Medicare account on your behalf. Make sure to check it regularly for any suspicious activity.
Protect Your Identity
Once scammers have your personal information, they can use it to open new credit cards, file fake tax returns, and more. There are many ways to protect your identity. Some steps you can take include making sure you check your accounts and information regularly for any changes or unauthorized activity and setting up alerts to monitor your account.
If you suspect you’ve already been a victim of identity theft, the FTC has tools at IdentityTheft.gov that allow you to report a theft and make a recovery plan.
For more information on how to protect yourself from identity theft and scammers, read this informative article from the National Council on Aging.