(1) Seniors; Beware of Scams
It seems like every time you turn around, there is some new type of scam to take advantage of you and separate you from your money. In this series, I will talk about types of scams and what to do about them. I will be focusing on senior scams, because older people are less aware of these fraudulent actions and more likely to be victimized by them. The response, in most cases, should be the same: “Don’t respond!”
Scam artists take advantage of our insecurity, ignorance, loneliness and greed. This series of blogs can do something about the first two (insecurity and ignorance) but relatively little about the third and fourth (loneliness and greed) except to remind you that very little is free in this world. The probability that your soulmate is waiting for you in Jamaica or that a Kenyan millionaire is eager to give you millions of dollars is unlikely in the extreme. ANY stranger asking for money is likely to be doing so under false pretenses. Here is a sample scame.
This scam is perpetrated through a phone call informing you that you owe the IRS money and that if you do not respond it will be an indication that you are blatantly violating your responsibilities and that severe action will be taken. Late in 2015, I received three of these solicitations in a week. The first time it happened it briefly alarmed me, until I realized that the IRS NEVER calls. The second and third times I erased the messages without a thought. I did, however, inform ALL my senior patients to be on the alert for such calls and a surprising number had already received them. I take the opportunity, here, to warn you readers, as well. Ignore these calls. Hang up if someone attempts to shake you down in the name of a government agency. If you owe money, you will be alerted through a letter, not a phone call.
Whether a scam artist approaches you by email, text (rare), telephone or snail mail (also rare) the best thing to do is ignore, delete and Don’t Worry about it!”
[If you are a family member or close friend reading this, it is important to alert the senior to the scam.]