Building off yesterday’s post on seniors as targets for financial scams, let’s examine some of the most prevalent scams thieves use to swindle older adults.
“You Won the Sweepstakes!” Yeah, right. The senior gets a call or letting saying they won the “prize,” but first they must pay the “fees” or “taxes” before claiming their prize.
Telemarketing and mail solicitation. The thief uses the phone or mail to gather financial information about the senior. They look for credit card numbers, bank accounts, social security numbers, and whatever else they can get to steal identities and/or money. They “sell” goods that never arrive, and services that are never delivered. While not necessarily breaking the law, some insurance salesmen sell insurance that the senior may not need.
“We’ve only known each other for a few weeks, but I love you.” Call this the “sweetheart scam.” A charismatic person comes in, says everything the person wants to hear, fools him/her into thinking their in love, then wipes bank accounts and property clean when the opportunity arises.
“Hi, I can pave your driveway or fix your roof tomorrow for really cheap. I’m in the area with left over materials. Just pay me the deposit and I’ll come back tomorrow, or I’ll go find someone that wants this offer.” Don’t fall for it.
“You hit my car! Give me cash or I’ll call the cops.” Here a crook smears tar or some other substance on the senior’s car that they’ll use as “evidence.” They wait for the senior to return and drive off. Then they chase them down and accuse them of committing a hit and run, demanding payment for the damage or they’ll call the police.
“I’m here to read your water meter in the basement, and to check the line.” Sure, while the crook is occupying the senior’s time with questions they can’t answer, someone else is going through the house.
Many thieves pose as trust worthy individuals, police, government workers, etc. When in doubt – check it out!