mmw-scamming-grandmaNo one likes feeling taken advantage of, but it happens every day as Georgia seniors are exploited by con artists or even family members.

Financial scams often go unreported or prove difficult to prosecute, according to the National Council on Aging, which identified the top 10 scams targeting seniors:

  • Health Care/Medicare/Health Insurance Fraud
  • Counterfeit Prescription Drugs
  • Funeral & Cemetery Scams
  • Fraudulent Anti-Aging Products
  • Telemarketing
  • Internet Fraud
  • Investment Schemes
  • Homeowner/Reverse Mortgage Scams
  • Sweepstakes & Lottery Scams
  • The Grandparent Scam

Some of these scams are simple, yet devious because they abuse the generosity of seniors who want to make sure loved ones are cared for and strangers are aided during times of crisis.

To avoid becoming a victim, seniors should be aware of how tricky and persuasive con artists can be. Strangers may place a phone call and pretend to be a grandchild in need of money sent via Western Union or MoneyGram to help with overdue rent or payment for car repairs, etc.

There’s really little to stop criminals from opening a line of credit in your name or emptying your bank account if they get their hands on your personal information used to verify identity. This includes social security number, driver’s license number, date of birth, etc.

The bad guys are increasingly sophisticated, using phishing scams in legitimate-looking emails to direct people on the Internet to a bogus website to verify their information or tricking seniors into downloading viruses by simulating anti-virus software.

Seniors need to avoid making financial decisions under time pressure and stay away from investment products they do not fully understand. It can be tempting to put money into something that appears to grow others’ savings, but when a pyramid scheme collapses, those at the bottom lose big.

Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia seniors deserve to have their retirement savings protected. Increasingly, the first step is an awareness of how to avoid being conned.