Elite Reads

Top 10 Financial Scams Targeting Seniors

Fraud is estimated to cost seniors more than $3 billion each year, according to the FBI. Scammers target the elderly because they assume they have a large sum of money sitting in their accounts. 

But it’s not just the wealthy who are being targeted. Low-income senior citizens are also vulnerable to fraud . These crimes aren’t always committed by strangers.  Over 90% of all reported elder abuse is perpetrated by a senior’s own family members, most commonly adult children, grandkids, nieces and nephews, and others. 

Because financial scams are frequently undetected or difficult to prosecute, they are classified as a “low-risk” crime. However, they can be devastating to many elderly people, leaving them in a vulnerable situation with little support.

1) Government impostor crime

Government imposters pretend to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Social Security Administration, or Medicare when caling unsuspecting victims. They might accuse you of not paying your taxes and threaten you with arrest or deportation if you don’t pay up right away. They may also say that if you don’t disclose personal identifying information, your Social Security or Medicare benefits would be terminated (that can then be used to commit fraud). Government impersonators frequently “spoof” the government agency’s actual phone numbers or call from the same zip code (202 for Washington, DC).

2) The grandparent scam

The grandparent scam is so simple and so devious because it uses one of older adults’ most reliable assets, their hearts. Scammers will place a call to an older person and say something along the lines of: “Hi Grandma, do you know who this is?” When the unsuspecting grandparent guesses the name of the grandchild the scammer most sounds like, the scammer has established a fake identity without having done any background research. Once “in,” the fake grandchild will ask for money to solve some unexpected financial problem (overdue rent, car repairs, jail bond) and will beg the grandparent not to tell anyone. Because scammers ask to be paid via gift cards or money transfer, which don’t always require identification to collect, the senior may have no way of seeing that money ever again. 

3) Medicare/health insurance scams

Every U.S. citizen or permanent resident over age 65 qualifies for Medicare, so there is rarely any need for a scam artist to research what private health insurance company older people have in order to scam them out of some money. In these types of scams, perpetrators may pose as a Medicare representative to get older people to give them their personal information, or they will provide bogus services for elderly people at makeshift mobile clinics, then bill Medicare and pocket the money. Medicare scams often follow the latest trends in medical research, such as genetic testing fraud and COVID-19 vaccines

4) Computer tech support scams

Computer technical support scams prey on people’s lack of knowledge about computers and cybersecurity. A pop-up message or blank screen usually appears on a computer or phone, telling you that your device is compromised and needs fixing. When you call the support number for help, the scammer may either request remote access to your computer and/or that you pay a fee to have it repaired. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found that seniors who fell for this scam lost an average of $500 each to computer tech support scams in 2018.

5) Sweepstakes & lottery scams

This simple scam is one that many are familiar with, and it capitalizes on the notion that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Here, scammers inform their mark that they have won a lottery or sweepstakes of some kind and need to make some sort of payment to unlock the supposed prize. Often, seniors will be sent a check that they can deposit in their bank account, knowing that while it shows up in their account immediately, it will take a few days before the (fake) check is rejected. During that time, the criminals will quickly collect money for supposed fees or taxes on the prize, which they pocket while the victim has the “prize money” removed from his or her account as soon as the check bounces. Unlike some of the other scams noted here, lottery and sweepstakes scammers can sometimes collect thousands of dollars from their unsuspecting victims.

6) Robocalls

Robocalls take advantage of sophisticated phone technology to dial large numbers of households from anywhere in the world. Robocallers use a variety of tactics to cheat their victims. Some may claim that a warranty is expiring on their car/electronic product and payment is needed to renew it. One popular robocall is the “Can you hear me?” call, where when the senior says yes, the scammer hangs up after recording their voice, thus obtaining a voice signature to authorize unwanted charges on items like stolen credit cards. 

7) Romance scams

As more people use the Internet for dating, con artists see an opportunity to find their next victim. Romance scammers create elaborate fake profiles, often on social media, and exploit seniors’ loneliness for money. In some cases, romance scammers may (or pretend to) be overseas, and request money to pay for visas, medical emergencies, and travel expenses to come visit the U.S. Because they drag on for a long time, romance scammers can get a lot of money from a senior—the FTC found that in 2019 alone, seniors lost nearly $84 million to romance scams.

8) Internet and email fraud

While using the Internet is a great skill at any age, the slower speed of adoption among some older people makes them easier targets for automated Internet scams that are ubiquitous on the web and email programs. Pop-up browser windows simulating virus-scanning software will fool victims into either downloading a fake anti-virus program (at a substantial cost) or an actual virus that will open up whatever information is on the user’s computer to scammers. Their unfamiliarity with the less visible aspects of browsing the web (firewalls and built-in virus protection, for example) make seniors especially susceptible to such traps. 

Phishing emails and text messages may look like they’re from a company you know or trust. They may look like they’re from a bank, a credit card company, or an online store. Phishing emails request your personal information, such as a log-in or Social Security number to verify your account or ask that you update your credit card payment. Then they use that information to steal your personal and financial information.

9) Elder financial abuse

Unlike many of the other scams, elder financial abuse is carried out by someone a senior knows. This can be a family member, friend, power of attorney, or caregiver. These trusted individuals try and gain control of a senior’s money, assets, and credit. They also may withhold needed care in order to retain control over the person and their assets. Seniors who have a disability or cognitive impairment (such as dementia) may be at particular risk.

10) Charity scams

Charity scams rely on seniors’ goodwill to pocket money they claim they’re raising for a good cause. Some scammers may use a name similar to a legitimate charity. They often capitalize on current events, such as natural disasters, and may set up a fundraising page on a crowdsourcing site. Charity scammers may insist you donate immediately, sometimes with a payment method that should be a red flag—e.g., gift cards or money transfer.

If you suspect you’ve been the victim of a scam…

Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk about it with someone you trust. You are not alone, and there are people who can help. Doing nothing could only make it worse. Keep handy the phone numbers and resources you can turn to, including the local police, your bank (if money has been taken from your accounts), and Adult Protective Services. To obtain the contact information for Adult Protective Services in your area, call the Eldercare Locator, a government-sponsored national resource line, at 1-800-677-1116, or visit their website at: https://eldercare.acl.gov

You can also report scams online to the Federal Trade Commission.

Join our community

Contact our medicare advisors
Sally Ciriaco

MAIN (786) 583-5411
sciriaco@elitehealth.com

Allison Ashmawy

MAIN (786) 769-9229
aashmawy@elitehealth.com

More to read

Avoiding Scams and Fraud

Top 10 Financial Scams Targeting Seniors Fraud is estimated to cost seniors more than $3 billion each year, according to the FBI. Scammers target the elderly because they

Read More »

Top 4 healthy aging tips

Growing older is a natural part of life, and there are a variety of mental and physical changes that occur as we become older. Although it’s natural to encounter changes in your health, emotions, and overall energy as you age, that doesn’t mean you can’t control how you feel.

Read More »
Senior organizing his medications

Seniors’ medication advice

At any age, it’s critical to understand the prescription and non-prescription medications you’re taking. Our bodies may react differently to certain drugs as we age. As a result, it’s extremely critical for seniors to effectively manage their medications and incorporate them into their daily routine.

Read More »

Tips to protect yourself from the flu and COVID-19

With the flu season upon us and the COVID-19 pandemic continuing throughout the country, it’s more important than ever to know how protect yourself from harmful viruses.
If you contract a respiratory virus, you’ll need to determine as soon as possible if it’s related to the flu or COVID-19 so that you receive the proper care.

Read More »

Share this post

Restricción de visitantes

Entendemos lo difícil que puede ser restringir a nuestros pacientes para que no traigan acompañantes o familiares mientras visitan a su médico en nuestras instalaciones, pero estas importantes medidas temporarias ayudarán a minimizar la exposición y, por lo tanto, mantendrán bajo el riesgo de infección.

Restricción de visitantes: entendemos lo difícil que puede ser restringir a nuestros pacientes para que no traigan acompañantes o familiares mientras visitan a su médico en nuestras instalaciones, pero estas importantes medidas temporarias ayudarán a minimizar la exposición y, por lo tanto, mantendrán bajo el riesgo de infección.

Que esperar al llegar a nuestras instalaciones

Que esperar al llegar a nuestras instalaciones

Todos los pacientes son examinados en la entrada

Las máscaras son obligatorias mientras se encuentra en nuestras instalaciones. No se permitirá la entrada sin máscara.

Nuestro personal debe usar en todo momento el equipo completo de seguridad incluyendo gafas, máscara y batas protectoras para garantizar su seguridad y la de ellos mismos.

Disponemos de liquido sanitario en la entrada y en toda la instalación, les pedimos a todos que se desinfecten las manos al ingresar a la oficina, de la misma manera, nuestro personal debe desinfectar sus manos antes y después de un encuentro con un paciente.

Detección de síntomas: al llegar a nuestras instalaciones, se proporcionará un cuestionario de salud antes de ingresar con preguntas sobre tos, fiebre y exposición al virus. Nuestro personal también es evaluado diariamente antes de llegar a nuestras instalaciones.

Se toma la temperatura en la puerta antes de ingresar a las instalaciones.

Medidas de seguridad adicionales en nuestras instalaciones

Las áreas comunes como las salas de espera y los baños se higienizan con frecuencia, especialmente las áreas que se tocan con frecuencia.

Los consultorios se desinfectan entre cada paciente y se higienizan a fondo al final del día.

Las salas de espera se han organizado para mantener distanciamiento social, nuestro mobiliario se ha reestructurado para crear el espacio requerido entre los pacientes y hemos colocado marcadores en nuestros muebles y pisos para guiar a nuestros pacientes dónde pararse y sentarse.

Nuestro objetivo es que nuestros pacientes se sientan seguros mientras se encuentran en nuestras instalaciones y reciben la atención excelente y compasiva que merecen sintiéndose seguros.

EliteHealth sigue todas las recomendaciones de seguridad de los CDC (Centros de Control de Enfermedades).

La seguridad de nuestros pacientes es nuestra mayor preocupación y todo lo que hacemos es pensando en usted.

En este momento EliteHealth no está  ofreciendo vacunas Covid-19. En cuanto estén disponibles les informaremos de inmediato.

Presione en el enlace más abajo para obtener información acerca de centros de vacunación y administración de exámenes de COVID-19.

Visitor Restriction

We understand how difficult it could be to restrict our patients from bringing their companions/family members while they visit their physician in our facilities, but these important temporary measures will help minimize exposure, therefore, keeping the risk of infection low.

What to expect when arriving at our facilities.

Restricting Visitors-We understand how difficult it could be to restrict our patients from bringing their companions/family members while they visit their physician in our facilities, but these important temporary measures will help minimize exposure, therefore, keeping the risk of infection low.

What to expect when arriving at our facilities.

All patients are screened at the entrance.

Masks are mandatory while in our facility, no mask-no entry.

Our Staff is required to wear all safety equipment, googles, mask and protective gowns to ensure yours and their safety.

Hand Sanitizer is available at the entrance and throughout the facility, we ask everyone to sanitize their hands when entering the office, the same way, our staff must sanitize their hands before and after a patient encounter.

Screening for Symptoms- When arriving at our facilities a health questionnaire will be provided before entering with questions about any cough, fever, exposure to the virus. Our staff is also screened daily prior to arriving to our facilities.

Temperature is taken at the door prior to entering the facilities.

Additional Safety Measures in our Facilities.

Common areas such as waiting rooms and restrooms are cleaned often, especially the frequently touched areas.

Exam Rooms are disinfected between each patient and extensively cleaned at the end of the day.

Waiting Rooms have been arranged to maintain social distancing, our furniture has been changed to create the space required between patients and we have placed markers on our furniture and floors to guide our patients where to stand and seat.

We want our patients to feel secure while in our facilities receiving the excellent and compassionate care they deserve while keeping them safe. EliteHealth follows all safety recommendations from the CDC (Centers from Disease Control). Our patient safety is our greatest concern and all we do is with you in mind.

Our facilities are not offering Covid-19 vaccines now, once it become available in any of our facilities, we will inform everyone.

Please click on the link below to find out:

Vaccine information Sites (where is being administered)

Vaccine Pre-Registration Site

Testing sites