Knowledge is power! This blog will share some helpful information on common frauds targeting senior citizens. Your first step in protection is being aware of the scams and tactics used by the scammers. And that is not easy! Scammers are getting more and more sophisticated, and they are using technology.
According to the FBI, seniors are frequently targeted for scams because they are likely to have a “nest egg,” own their home, and have good credit. And the Bureau says “People who grew up in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s were generally raised to be polite and trusting. Con artists exploit these traits, knowing that it is difficult or impossible for these individuals to say ‘no’ or just hang up the telephone.” Read more about why frauds targeting senior citizens are common.
So what are some of these scams? As expected, many of them involve health care, finances and even anti-aging products. Below are some of the frauds targeting senior citizens.
Health Care Fraud or Health Insurance Fraud
Pasadena area seniors should be wary of offers of “free” medical equipment. Manufacturers may or may not deliver the equipment and then they bill it to your insurance company.
You’ve seen the portable labs set up at gyms, retirement homes, and even shopping malls. They offer lab tests that may not be necessary, and may not be a legitimate test, and then bill it to insurance companies or Medicare.
Important rules to live by:
- Never give blanket authorization to a “medical” provider to bill for services rendered.
- Carefully review your insurer’s explanation of benefits. If you see anything unusual, call your insurance company.
Fraudulent Anti-Aging Products
We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s too good to be true.” Those are words to live by when it comes to offers for anti-aging products. Many aging adults are bothered by their changing appearance, so the offer for a “breakthrough” product is appealing. So be diligent in your purchase.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the product. Find out exactly what it should and should not do for you.
- Research a product thoroughly before buying it. Call the Better Business Bureau to find out if other people have complained about the product.
- Be aware that testimonials and/or celebrity endorsements are often misleading.
One form of telemarketing fraud is when you are offered a bogus product or service over the phone. Offers of free prizes, inexpensive vacations, low-cost vitamins and health care products are frequently part of a telemarketing scheme targeting seniors. If you hear “You must act now” or “You’ve won a free gift,” it is probably a scam. Legitimate businesses will be willing to send you more information and even provide you information over the phone. If your questions are not answered, do not buy. Never send money or give out personal information such as credit card numbers and expiration dates, bank account numbers, dates of birth, or social security numbers to unfamiliar companies or unknown persons.
Other schemes that the FBI warns seniors about include:
- Investment Schemes
- Reverse Mortgage Scams
- Funeral and Cemetery Fraud
- Counterfeit Prescription Drugs
Unfortunately, frauds targeting senior citizens are way too common. Be wary. Ask questions. Trust your instinct – if something doesn’t feel quite right, it probably isn’t. Get out of the situation or hang up the phone. And don’t hesitate to report your suspicions to state, local, or federal law enforcement agencies.
Caring.com also has some helpful information regarding scams and frauds targeting senior citizens.
Select Home Care Pasadena is available to help. Don’t hesitate to call our office if you have any questions. 626-799-4855.