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Beware of These Five Scams That Target Seniors


Scams change with the times; the Spanish prisoner scam, which tended to operate by postal mail, morphed into the Nigerian prince scam in the age of email.  As technology and current events evolve, so do the opportunities to deceive people and defraud them out of money.  It is no secret that seniors are the most vulnerable age group when it comes to financial scams, because they are more likely to own assets and to be naïve about new technologies, to say nothing of the fact that some elderly victims of fraud willingly believe implausible lies by someone pretending to be a friend, just because they are so lonely.  If you or an elderly relative has been a victim of fraud, contact a Florida elder law attorney.

New Facebook Friends Who Share Your Interests

In this scam, the scammer strikes up a friendship with the victim on social media by talking about the victim’s hobbies or interests.  Then the scammer sends the victim images or other content related to their shared interest, whether it is gardening, political humor, golf, a favorite dog breed, or anything else. Unbeknownst to the victim, the content contains malware which steals information from the victim’s computer.

Grandchildren Suffering the Ravages of the COVID-19 Pandemic

A young scammer posing as the victim’s grandchild calls the victim and asks him or her to wire money.  The scammer tells a story of why he or she needs the money; they might say, “I’m in the hospital with coronavirus,” or they might say, “the moratorium on evictions has ended, so I’m going to get evicted if I don’t pay my rent by tomorrow.”  This scam works when the scammer just says “Grandma” or “Grandpa” and doesn’t identify himself or herself; the victim, assuming that it is really their grandchild, will address the scammer by the real grandchild’s name, and the scammer plays along.  If you get a call like this, call or text another family member to corroborate the details before you send money.

Fake COVID-19 Contact Tracers

Scammers call victims and ask them for identifying information, on the pretense that the caller is trying to trace the contacts of a person recently diagnosed with COVID-19.  Real COVID-19 callers will never ask about your social security number or financial information.

Unsolicited Phone Calls from Tech Support

Real tech support companies never make unsolicited calls offering to resolve problems with your computer.  If someone calls you and claims to be from tech support, it is a scam.  Even more worrisome is the fact that some scammers list their phone numbers online as if they are real tech support services.  When in doubt, call a local store that sells or repairs computers and ask its employees to refer you to a legitimate tech support number.

Tele-Health Scams

During the pandemic, many medical professionals are meeting with patients virtually, but doctors’ offices and health insurance companies do not make unsolicited calls.  You should only communicate with your doctors and health insurance companies via their published contact information, such as you can find on their websites or your health insurance card.

Contact an Attorney Today for Help

If you or an elderly person close to you has been the victim of identity theft, contact an experienced Clearwater elder law attorney.  Contact William Rambaum for help with your case.




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