SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Each year, it’s estimated that older adults lose billions of dollars to scammers. But the FTC says seniors are getting better at reporting scams.
The National Council on Aging put out a list of the top scams that seniors should look out for this year. The top three were the Social Security Scam, the grandparents scam, and the natural disasters scam.
It’s been reported that there has been an up tick in Social Security scam phone calls. Something alarming is that these calls can even come up on your phone as the actual Social Security Hotline number. People who get these calls are either threatened they will be arrested if they don’t give the caller their Social Security Number or the caller says they want to activate a suspended Social Security Number. In either of these cases hang up the phone. Social Security will rarely contact a person by phone, unless they had ongoing business with them. But, a person with the Social Security Administration would never make threats about an arrest or legal action . If you have received one of these calls, click here to report it.
The second scam to look out for is the grandparents scam. This scam has been around for several years and has a new twist. The grandparents scam is when an elder person gets a call saying their grandchild is in danger and needs money right away. Recently, the Federal Trade Commission says an increasing amount of older adults are now mailing cash to the frauds instead of wiring it to them. The average individual loss from this scam is about $9,000. According to the reports, scammers are asking seniors to divide the bills into different envelopes or between magazine pages and send them. If you recently fell victim to this, there may still be time to get your money back. Some people have been able to reach their mail provider and get the money back before it’s delivered. But the FTC says to make sure you don’t fall victim to the scam, don’t act right away. Contact your grandchild to see their whereabouts. If you have received one of these calls, you can report it here.
Another popular scam targeted towards seniors is the natural disaster scam. This is when a person impersonates a charity or someone who has been impacted by a natural disaster. The scammer will do this to get money or personal information. They could contact seniors over the phone, through social media, email, or in person. To make sure that you don’t get scammed, make sure you are donating your money to a reputable charity.