Elder fraud and scams targeting seniors are reprehensible, but – as far too many aging parents, spouses and other seniors can attest – they are also unfortunately common. The US Senate Special Committee on Aging wants to make sure aging parents and others are aware of the issue and can take steps to prevent falling prey to unscrupulous scammers.
The recently published “Fighting Fraud: US Senate Aging Committee Identifies Top 10 Scams Targeting Our Nation’s Seniors” (available as a pdf download by clicking here) is a 44-page investigation into the most common fraud schemes aimed at unsuspecting aging parents and other seniors.
According to the report, these top 10 scams accounted for 90% of the 1,108 complaints received in 2015 on the Senate Aging Committee’s Fraud Hotline. Those scam categories are:
- IRS Impersonation Scam, in which someone claiming to be from the IRS insists money is owed on taxes;
- Sweepstakes Scams, in which hoaxers try to convince the victim that they have won a lottery of some sort;
- Robocalls/Unwanted Phone Calls, in which an automatic calling system repeatedly calls a person, even if they are listed on the national Do Not Call Registry;
- Computer Scams, in which con artists try to convince someone that their compute is infected;
- Identity Theft, in which personal information is obtained and bank accounts, credit cards, etc. are affected;
- Grandparent Scams, in which a scammer pretends to be the victim’s grandchild in need of help;
- Elder Financial Abuse, in which individuals (sometimes family members of acquaintances) improperly access a victim’s assets;
- Grant Scams, in which the con artist claims to be processing a grant for the victim;
- Romance Scams/Confidence Fraud, in which fraudulent persons gain the trust of an elder, often through an online dating situation;
- Home Improvement Scams, in which aging parents pay in advance for home improvement work which is either never done or performed in a substandard manner.
Aging parents and other seniors should access this free report in order to learn more about these scams and strategies for avoiding victimization by con artists.