Protect Yourself (and Your Money) from Scams and Fraud
Everyday information about scams, fraud, and data security breaches are in the news. Many scams target senior citizens, so it’s important to know what to watch out for. By following the tips and information listed here, you can learn how to protect yourself from being a victim.
Healthcare Scams or Data Breaches
According to the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance, an estimated 2.32 million Americans were victims of medical identity theft in 2014. That number has steadily increased with the rise in hacking and access to digital information. Thieves will also target seniors given their direct ties to Medicare. Some will try to contact you to obtain personal or financial information claiming to be a Medicare representative. Never give your information out over the phone to avoid this scam.
Telemarketing or Phone Scams
Adding to healthcare scams, thieves claiming to be from the Social Security Administration, the IRS, or other highly recognized organizations will also try obtaining your information over the phone. A newer scam is where they’ll call you to say you have a virus on your computer and try to get you to provide them access. Once you do, they have access to every bit of information on your computer, and it’s nearly impossible to trace.
Investment Scams and Identity Theft
If you’re retired, you likely have bank accounts to draw funds from and safeguard your financial future. Unfortunately, the thieves are very aware of this and can target you. You may receive a phone call or email saying you’ve inherited money, but you have to send money to claim it. It’s also common for thieves to gain access to accounts with large balances. Once they gain access, they withdraw small amounts that you may not notice. But by accessing enough accounts, they end up stealing hundreds or more from unsuspecting account holders over time.
Now that you are aware of the threat to your finances, you can learn to protect yourself. Never give information over the phone, via email, or through the mail to someone you can’t verify. Also, keep track of the activity on your accounts to ensure you can identify all of the transactions taking place. To find out more about scams targeting seniors and how to protect yourself, you can review information published by the National Council on Aging.