Fraud And Seniors

US News Reports That Seniors Are An Increasing Fraud Scam Target

Imagine working hard all your life, putting money away for a rainy day, just like you’re supposed to, only to have it swiped by a scammer with a good line.

The Federal Trade Commission’s annual report showed that consumer complaints increased more than 24% from 2010.

The ten most complaints received:

  • Identity theft – 279,156 (15%).
  • Debt collection – 180,928 (10%).
  • Prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries – 100,208 (6%).
  • Shop-at-home and catalog sales – 98,306 (5%).
  • Banks and lenders – 89,341 (5%).
  • Internet services – 81,805 (5%).
  • Auto-related – 77,435 (4%).
  • Impostor scams – 73,281 (4%).
  • Telephone and mobile services – 70,024 (4%).
  • Advance-fee loans and credit protection/repair – 47,414 (3%).

There was a time when if you received a notice from a bank or government agency, the document actually originated from that agency.  In today’s advanced technological environment notifications are relatively easy to reproduce and nearly exactly mirror an official document.

Especially when the notice is digital.

Some seniors are especially vulnerable simply because of technical acumen, or lack there of. Many are not used to the rampant and blatant fraud out there today.  Unfortunately, their trust is the victim only after they have become financial victims. 

Below is a list of red flags (taken from MSN Money):

  1. The offer looks too good to be true. Scam products or investments usually appear far more lucrative than standard products on the market.
  2. A high or “guaranteed” return at “no risk” to the investor is offered. This is virtually impossible.
  3. An urgent response or immediate cash payment is required. Legitimate business deals never require such a response.
  4. A steep upfront fee is charged in return for the promise that you will make even more money at some unspecified date. Run, don’t walk, from such a deal.
  5. There is a recommendation that the offer recipient not tell family members or friends about it. Why would any legitimate business person make such a request?
  6. Prospective investors are lured with a “free lunch.” If you attend such a lunch, do not agree to any deal or sign anything until you’ve gone home and done a lot more homework.
  7. Unsolicited Internet email deals are almost always bad news. These should go directly to your delete folder.
  8. A warning that failure to act would be very costly is part of the pitch. As with No. 3, no ethical person does business this way.
  9. The person offering the deal resists being questioned or checked out further. Con men, like roaches, scatter when the lights go on.
  10. The deal is so complex that it is difficult or impossible to understand. A good rule for any financial transaction: If you don’t understand it, don’t do it.

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