Scam artists are malicious. They target lonely and vulnerable people, and sadly the primary target is often the elderly. Why?
- They are generally trusting
- They have good credit
- Are usually financially secure
- Over $3 billion a year is estimated to be lost due to elder scam
Here are some Red Flags to watch out for:
1. Never answer an unknown number
- If you don't recognize the number a call or text is coming from, it's always best to err on the side of caution and don't answer it. Let it go to voicemail.
2. Make sure all-important numbers are added as contacts in your phone
In addition to having all your friends and family programmed into your phone as contacts, it's probably wise to also have other essential services programmed in, including:
- Insurance providers
- Cable and Internet providers
This way, you know that the person calling you is legitimately who they claim to be. If your search proves the call was dangerous, block the number immediately.
3. Be sure your voicemail is set up
Most of the time, scammers won't leave messages. However, on the rare occasions that they do, you will be able to do a Google search of their phone number after they leave the message, where you can quickly and easily learn if the number contacting you was actually safe.
Neither the government nor any service provider will ever call you unannounced demanding payment over the phone.
It's increasingly common for scam artists to impersonate a business, such as a phone or a cable provider, or sometimes even the IRS, claiming you are late on your payments, or that you owe a significant number in back taxes. Even if either of those situations happened to be accurate, you would never be called out of the blue and ordered to pay over the phone. Should you receive a call demanding this, it is most definitely a scam artist.
What if one of my loved ones or I fall victim to a scam?
First of all, don't be the slightest bit embarrassed, as it could have happened to genuinely anyone. And the worst thing you can do is stay silent, as you can help prevent this from happening to others.
- If you gave away any sensitive information, contact your bank immediately to report fraud
- If you mailed a check, void it before it clears
- Report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission and the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center
Health is Wealth