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Senior Fraud

By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer

(Page 2 of 3)
  1.  MEDICARE AND INSURANCE FRAUD This is when a scam artist may pose as an insurance representative to get a senior’s private information, or provide false services in order to bill Medicare and keep the cash.
     
  2. PRESCRIPTIONS These scams are most popular online, where seniors are trying to find lower-priced medications and are buying pills that are counterfeit. There are two dangers here:  the first being the loss of money and second, taking a pill that could be very harmful physically.
  3. FUNERAL AND CEMETERY The NCOA says that the FBI is warning seniors about scammers trying to claim money from a deceased person’s loved one. They may claim the deceased had a debt to pay.
     
    Another part of this type of scam is when a funeral director and other fraudulent people will insist a grieving family need additional services and/or caskets (in the event of cremation).
  4. ANTI-AGING PRODUCTS  The senior population is not in the dark about the abundance of anti-aging products on the market today, or immune from the desire to remain young. Con artists know this, which is why they will sell fake products, a common one being Botox. Professionals warn that these scams are very nerve-wracking because the fake labs are still using the same root ingredient, botulism neurotoxin, which is one of science’s most toxic. It can have severe consequences to a loved one’s health.
  5. TELEMARKETING This is the most common scheme, one heard of regularly. Preying on the loneliness of the elderly, con artists are able to conduct a scheme that is hard to trace and financially detrimental to a loved one.
  6.  INTERNET Since the nation’s older generation is online, but also not as savvy, this makes them a perfect target for automated scams, utilizing pop-up browsers and viruses. A popular example is a seemingly legit company asks for them to update or “verify” personal information.
     
  7. INVESTMENT Pyramid schemes, among a variety of other investment schemes, have been around for a long time.
     
  8. MORTGAGE Many seniors own their homes outright, which is a popular scam target for con artists. Reverse mortgage schemes are increasing and are putting this group in danger of losing their homes when it’s not an official refinancing option.  
  9. SWEEPSTAKES The lure of free money is appealing to anyone, and while the scam is simple, it is commonly used. The con will tell their victim they’ve won a lottery or sweepstakes of some kind, and need to make a payment to get the full prize. By the time the person realizes the prize check is a fake, their personal money is long gone. 
     
  10. GRANDPARENTS A popular scam now is the “Grandparent Scam” or the “Emergency Scam.” This includes a caller pretending to be the person’s grandchild, in need of emergency money. The authorities are unsure how they are getting the names of these people; but many times, it’s easy enough to say “Hi, Grandma” and the senior guesses which child it is. By the time the emergency money is wired, usually to Canada, it’s too late.
     

These and more scams are explained in detail at this Web site: www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/seniors/seniors.

 

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