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Top 10 Types of Scams Targeting Seniors

by Katie Riggs on December 15, 2014

Financial scams targeting seniors are on the rise, according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA). Our last blog explored how identity thieves gain access to our loved ones personal, financial information. In this post, we will talk about the top 10 scams targeting seniors so that you can identify a potential scam.

The NCOA has compiled a great list which we would like to share with our readers.

  1. Health Care/Medicare/Insurance Fraud – Some examples of Health Care and Medicare fraud include healthcare providers billing for services you never received, a supplier billing for equipment you never got, or someone using your health insurance or Medicare card to receive medical care, supplies or equipment. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a website dedicated to such fraud. For more information, please visit their site at http://www.stopmedicarefraud.gov/.
  2. Counterfeit Prescription Drugs – Seniors are increasingly savvy purchasing products on the Internet and shopping for deals, even on prescription medication. Victims of this type of fraud are lured in with lower prices but are often sold counterfeit drugs. This type of scam is potentially dangerous to a senior’s financial and physical health.
  3. Funeral Scams – Many funeral directors are sincere and compassionate individuals. Some however, will take advantage of grieving loved ones by selling services that are out of the family’s budget or not needed. In order to avoid this type of scam, shop around in advance, ask for a price list, and avoid emotional overspending by planning and budgeting in advance.
  4. Fraudulent Anti-Aging Products – Seniors should be wary of any product or service that promises dramatic anti-aging results, whether it is fake Botox treatments, or bogus anti-aging products and treatments sold on the Internet.
  5. Telemarketing – This includes calls from fake charities, fake accidents or con artists promising large sums of money.
  6. Internet Fraud – We discussed the various ways criminals target your personal financial information online in our previous blog post.
  7. Investment Schemes – Be wary of anyone who approaches you promising higher than average investment returns. Over the past 5-7 years, there has been an increase in the number of pyramid schemes targeting seniors.
  8. Homeowner/Reverse Mortgage Scams – Check out the NCOA’s article regarding the 8 Myths about Reverse Mortgages.
  9. Sweepstakes & Lottery Scams – Be wary of sweepstakes and lotteries promising winnings of millions of dollars. The FTC has some great resources for these types of scams here: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/taxonomy/term/867
  10. The Grandparent Scam – This type of scammer pretends like they are a grandchild in need of financial help. We found a great article on Pacific Standard explaining how this type of scam works.

Top 10 Scams Targeting Seniors: http://www.ncoa.org/enhance-economic-security/economic-security-Initiative/savvy-saving-seniors/top-10-scams-targeting.html, National Council on Aging