There are three areas where older Americans are most susceptible to scams:
- The Internal Revenue Service
- Charitable Giving
1. The IRS
The IRS is huge, mysterious, intimidating and powerful—and all these things make IRS scams the #1 senior scam year after year.
Like it’s name implies, these scam artists are “fishing” for information. A phishing scheme happens when a senior receives a phony email claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service announcing a tax refund is due to them. If a senior provides the bad guys with their personal and financial information, their identity is stolen and used to open bogus credit cards and other financial transactions in their name.
Know what to do if you believe you’ve fallen prey to an IRS phishing scheme as recommended by U.S. News.
Everyone on Medicare will receive new cards this spring. For protection, they will no longer have your Social Security number on the front of the card—it’s being replaced with a random number/letter sequence—in an attempt to reduce scams and fraud.
So what happened? Scammers posing as Medicare “agent” or health care providers started calling senior to tell them they needed to “purchase” a replacement card. Know that the new Medicare cards are free and being sent via postal mail to your address.
If you’ve received a phone call from a Medicare scammer, call 1-800-HHT-TIPS (1-800-447-8477).
3. Charitable Giving
We are a generous country. Americans love to give and support the causes they love. Scammers know this, make charity scams #3 on the top 3 list. This scam is a phone call from someone asking for a donation, usually shortly after a natural disaster like hurricanes, floods, or fires. If the person says you must “wire the donation,” put it on a gift card, or load it on a cash reload card, it’s a scam.
If you received a solicitation after a disaster asking for money delivered by any of the above methods, hang up the phone, toss that postcard, delete the email, or shut the door…then report it to the FTC online.