Home North Pole Economy BBB Trends: Seniors are often the targets of scams; here are the most common, how to avoid being a victim

BBB Trends: Seniors are often the targets of scams; here are the most common, how to avoid being a victim


Better Business Bureau

According to the FBI, if you are 60 or older, you are a likely target for scammers who sell fraudulent products and services over the phone. Scammers know that seniors were brought up to be polite and confident, and often have a hard time just saying “no” or hanging up. Combined with the fact that seniors can have savings, own their own homes, and have excellent credit, these characteristics make them vulnerable to fraud.

BBB takes senior citizen fraud very seriously and warns of the following popular scams:

Grandparents scam

It’s 2 a.m., and you are sleeping soundly when the phone rings. “Grandmother?” said a hysterical voice on the other end of the line. “It’s me… I’m in trouble.” I am on vacation, and there has been an accident! I need money. Please keep this between us. Being half awake and fearing for your grandchild’s safety, you wire the money.

This scam is designed to trick older people into believing their grandchild has been hurt, arrested or stranded while out of town and in need of money. The crook invents an urgent situation and asks for help and money.

How to avoid: Do not divulge any information. Scammers make their story more believable by grabbing details you give them, like your grandchild’s name. Ask the person claiming to be your grandchild a personal question, such as the name of a family member, or better yet, agree on a code word with your grandchildren in advance that they can. use if they have any problems. Plus, communicate with your family and know when they’re going on vacation so you don’t get caught off guard.

Lottery scam

A bright red envelope comes out of the stack of mail, the words “You are a winner!” Emblazoned on the front. The letter inside begins: “We are happy to inform you that you have won our raffle! Provide the following processing fees to claim your prize.

These form letters promise a great exchange of money for fees. The fees are often low, but can run into the thousands of dollars. Lotteries are illegal, except when conducted by states and certain exempt charities.

How to avoid: To verify. Don’t use a contact source that crooks give you. Look for them independently and call BBB for more information. Never pay to claim a prize – it is illegal to demand payment to claim a prize in the United States. And remember, you can’t win a contest you haven’t entered.

IT support scams

Caller ID claims the incoming call is from Microsoft. Your computer is using Microsoft software, so you think the call must be legitimate. “Hello Ma’am. My name is Keith and I represent Microsoft. Your computer has a virus and I am calling you to make repairs. I just need remote access to your computer, and I will need one-time charges. of $ 299.

Cybercriminals now have the ability to spoof the names and numbers of people or businesses you may know, and this tactic is often used in IT support scams. The scammer will claim that your computer has a virus or needs an update and will call for help. Once these crooks gain access to the computer, they can install malware, steal personal information, lock the computer and demand payment to unlock it again, or direct you to a scam website where you are prompted. enter your credit card information.

How to avoid: Install virus detection software on your computer and make sure it is updated regularly. Don’t trust cold calls; your software vendor will not call you to repair your computer. Find a computer repair company ahead of time that you can trust to perform repairs and protect your system from malware.

IRS and US Treasury scams

The IRS has never called you by phone before, but the man on the phone claims to be a government agent representing them. You are too pissed off to check because it explains how you owe overdue taxes and your arrest is imminent. He claims that if you don’t make the wire transfer payment by today, the police will arrive at your home.

In other versions of this scam, the scammer threatens to arrest you for overdue payday loan or for breach of jury duty. Whatever the “violation”, it is frightening to be threatened with arrest, and many people pay out of fear.

How to avoid: To hang up! The IRS and other government entities will not call you to collect money and will never ask you to make a payment via a prepaid card or wire transfer.

Statistically, older Americans are less likely to report fraud because of embarrassment or not knowing they’ve been scammed. Victims may also not know where to report the fraud. Protect yourself and report scams to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Attorney General or BBB at www.scamtracker.org.

Your BBB is located at 1 East 4th Street Suite 600 Cincinnati, Ohio 45202. To reach the office, call (513) 421-3015.