According to The Longevity Economy, an Oxford Economics study in collaboration with AARP, people aged 50 and older hold 83% of the wealth in the United States. This makes seniors ideal targets for unscrupulous scammers.
Many scams seem legitimate at first, making it difficult for people to identify them. It’s important to educate yourself on what scams are out there and how you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of senior citizen scams. Below are five tips to help you protect yourself.
Don’t Share Personal or Financial Information Electronically
Your bank and other financial institutions you do business with already have your account information, so they shouldn’t need to call you to find out any personal or financial information. Some scammers impersonate bank employees over the phone or through emails requesting you to click on a link and verify your information. If you get one of these calls or emails, do not respond, and contact your bank directly.
Question Miraculous Claims
You should question any claims you see about products you might purchase. From beauty companies whose products are supposed to make you look younger to developers selling dirt-cheap vacation homes, there are many companies whose claims seem too good to be true. Don’t be too quick to pull out your credit card. Do your research and ask questions first.
Monitor Your Accounts
You should monitor your credit card statements and bank accounts for signs of fraudulent activity. Card skimmers on gas pumps are a common problem and can lead to unauthorized charges on your credit card. Some people have had their card numbers stolen while using them at restaurants or stores. Monitoring your accounts and immediately reporting fraudulent charges are the best ways to protect yourself from these scams.
Read the Fine Print
Make sure you read the fine print when you sign up for a free trial of a product or a subscription service. Some companies will charge your credit card after the trial period if you don’t cancel within a certain period of time. Some companies have also enrolled customers without their consent in auto-delivery programs so these consumers continue receiving and being charged for these products on an ongoing basis.
Also, be wary of companies that promise free products if you just pay shipping and handling fees. Sometimes the shipping and handling fees are more than the value of the product.
Use a Credit Card for Online Purchases
You should use a credit card, rather than a debit card, when making online purchases. Your credit card offers more protection from unauthorized charges than your debit card does. If your credit card number is compromised, you can call your credit card company and have the charges removed. If your debit card is compromised, scammers have direct access to your bank account, and you may be responsible for fraudulent charges.
There are unscrupulous people everywhere, and many of them specifically target seniors, but if you stay vigilant and proactive, you can reduce your chance of being the target of scammers.
This guest post was graciously provided by Joseph Jones. Joseph has been writing senior care and aging-related articles for years. He got his start while writing for a personal blog before he was offered to work at California Mobility in 2018 as the Content Marketing Manager, creating highly informative guides and health awareness articles for aging adults.
He’s currently contributing to a variety of blogs in the senior health industry in hopes to spread information about taking care of seniors and what to expect in the aging process.