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  • Jan 26, 2024

Tech Talk with Jeff - Financial Fraud and Scams

Financial fraud and scams are bad for anyone but are particularly bad for older adults.

Older adults are not always as aware of current technologies or how to utilize them. This puts older adults at more risk of being taken advantage of.

Scams come in many forms. By mail, phone, websites and in person and can be carried out by a stranger or someone the older adult knows. There are fake charities, contests and health care products, Medicare discount scams, fake calls, scam emails and fake calls from governmental agencies such as the IRS. The list just goes on. Older adults are at more risk when they live alone and don’t have someone else watching for warning signs of an issue.

How do you tell if something is not on the up and up?

Ask yourself a few questions. How is the request coming in and do you know the person asking? Is someone asking for a credit or debit card number? Are they asking for money up front? Is it a low cost or no risk deal? All of these are avenues for being taken advantage of. Skepticism is always needed. If it is too easy or too good to be true, be very cautious.

Protect your personal information.

Don’t give out this information freely. It is your private information and no one else needs access to it. Use direct deposit to prevent checks from being stolen and always check your statements for anything unusual. Another good technique is to shred anything sensitive. You never know who will see your trash after it leaves your house. Shred bills, receipts, airline boarding passes, etc. Anything that has any personal information on it that you no longer need.

Are there things you can do to help safeguard an older adult?

Watch for any sudden changes in their finances or if they have unusual withdrawals from their accounts. Watch for sudden secrecy or confusion. Scammers are very good at extracting money from people and persuading them to stay quiet. They will also rush people to try to get the money to them as fast as possible before anyone notices. And never give gift cards as a payment method. This is always a scam.

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if something isn’t right or you are being scammed. The police are always a good place to start. They see a lot of these types of cases and have the resources to help sort out what is going on.

It is a dangerous world out there - be aware and be safe!

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