Senior-Targeted Scams to Watch Out For

No one likes to think about their elderly loved ones being targeted by scammers, but it is a reality that must be taken seriously. Here, the aging in place specialists at Avila Home Care provide information about some of the most prevalent senior-targeted scams that the elderly and their loved ones should watch out for.

Health Insurance Scam

As every person over 65 qualifies for Medicare, it is easy for scam artists to assume who to pose as when implementing this scheme. The perpetrators will pose as Medicare representatives, and convince the victim to give them their personal information. They will then use this information to commit identity fraud, or they will bill Medicare for fraudulent charges and pocket the money. Medicare calls their patients very infrequently, usually only if you yourself have called and left a message. If you are concerned a call is fraudulent, hang up and call 1-800-MEDICARE to determine the legitimacy of the call.

In a similar scam, some perpetrators will attempt to sign up unknowing seniors for fake health insurance, and then ask for personal or billing information. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is—always consult a loved one, caretaker or lawyer before accepting any offers.

Financial Advisor Fraud

Many elderly people seek the help of a financial advisor, to help them prepare for and maintain their retirement fund. While many are scrupulous and well-intentioned individuals, there are some that will try to take advantage of their clients. Seniors have been targeted by fraudulent advisors who will charge them exorbitant fees, and then do nothing to improve their funds and investments. Others have been known to steal retiree’s investments entirely. Always do proper research before hiring a financial expert, and be sure that you or a loved one is keeping regular track of income and expenditures.

Fake Prescription Drugs

Many prescription drugs can be expensive, and some seniors are turning to the Internet to see if they can get the medicine they need for less money. Unfortunately, many of these sites are fraudulent, and pretend to sell customers brand-name prescription drugs—what the customers actually receive are cheap counterfeits, or even sugar pills. This is extremely dangerous, and seniors should always go to a certified medical professional for medication.

Tech Support Scam

For those seniors with computers, tech support scams can be a very serious concern. Perpetrators will call, telling the victim that their computer is infected with a virus or malware. The perpetrator will often use a popular brand name, such as Microsoft or Apple, to boost credibility. They will then ask to take control of the computer remotely to fix the problem, and demand a payment of several hundred dollars via credit card or online payment. If the victim refuses to pay, they will threaten to destroy the computer from their remote location. Unless you have contacted a tech support company, there is no reason for one to be calling you—always err on the side of caution, and never provide credit card information over the phone.

How Avila Homecare Can Help

Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous individuals out there who believe it is acceptable to take advantage of vulnerable senior citizens. Often, these scams can be prevented by having a trusted individual around to help screen phone calls, emails and determine whether an individual’s claims should be trusted. At Avila Home Care, we believe every aging-in-place senior citizen deserves an ally on their side—that’s why our trusted, screened homecare specialists devote so much time to their clients, ensuring they are safe, comfortable and happy. For more information, please contact us today!

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