10 Tips to Protect Seniors Against Scammers, Protect Seniors Against Scammers, seniors safety, seniors security, scams, scammers, fraud, fraudsters, elderly

10 Tips to Protect Seniors Against Scammers

Last Updated on March 29, 2021

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How to Protect Seniors Against Scammers

Sadly, there are people in this world who prey on the most vulnerable people in society. One of the targets of these callous fraudsters is the elderly. Older people are more likely to trust strangers, especially if those strangers appear to be representing reputable organizations. Some older people might also be suffering from cognitive decline. Seniors are not as physically healthy as they once were, too, so they can be intimidated far easier than younger people.

Scams against the elderly take many forms. Scammers sometimes phone the elderly posing as representatives of the Social Security Administration (SSA) or Medicare to obtain personal information or money. Other scammers will even call recently bereaved older people and claim that they were owed money by the deceased person. Some ruthless traders will also take advantage of the elderly by carrying out unnecessary work or overcharging for their services.

Of course, no one wants to take away the independence of a senior family member. But the older generation does need to be made aware that scammers may target them. Here are ten tips you can give to an elderly family member to help protect them against scammers.

1. Do Not Buy Anything at The Door

Door-to-door salespeople may not be what they appear to be, and most reputable companies have stopped using door-to-door cold selling altogether. A door-to-door salesperson can get an older person on their own and pressurize a senior to buy something that they do not need at an overinflated price. In some cases, a disreputable salesperson will be so insistent that an older person may buy something merely to get the sales representative to leave. The best thing that seniors can do to avoid being scammed at their front door is never to buy anything from a door-to-door salesperson. Even better, put a notice on the front door that says, “No Soliciting of Any Kind!”

2. Never Divulge Any Personal Information on the Phone

Seniors may also be the target of phishing scammers. So, the simple advice here is that you should not give any personal information to anyone over the phone. Official organizations like the IRS or Medicare will never ask for information over the phone, and no reputable organization will push for payment on the phone either. Details such as social security numbers, bank details, and Medicare numbers should never be divulged by phone, emails, or to someone who has called at your door.

3. Do Not Assume that All Charities Are Legitimate

Older people may have disposable income that they are happy to spend helping other people. But be careful, because scammers know that seniors are usually compassionate and generous people. Fraudsters will set up fake charities and specifically target the elderly. So, if you have never heard of a charity before, you should check it out before you give it any money.

4. Get Recommendations for Traders

If an older person needs a trader like a plumber, gardener, or a roofer, it is best to ask family and friends for recommendations first. Dishonest traders might overcharge for work or scam an older person into paying for work that is not needed. You should also never employ a trader who calls at your home and offers to carry out work on the cheap. A scammer might try tricks like saying that they noticed that your roof needs fixing, for example, and then charge a fortune for doing nothing at all.

5. Do Not Trust Everything that You See Online

Everyone needs to be cautious about what they see online. Seniors, though, who have not grown up in the internet age, will tend to be more trusting of websites than those of us that have grown used to seeing online scams. Seniors should be encouraged only to buy from reputable sites with which they are family and to take sensible cybersecurity precautions.

6. Do Not Feel Pressurized to Buy Anything

A simple precaution to take that will help protect seniors against scammers is always to have a
cooling-off period before you commit to buying anything. Whether it is an offer on the internet or a cold caller at the door, do not let yourself get pressurized to purchase something immediately, allow some time to think about it first. Do not fall for tactics like “limited stocks” or “offer ends today,” because you can be almost certain that the offer will still be there tomorrow as well.

7. Do Not Accept Free Offers or Unexpected Prizes

Nothing in life is free! So, if you get offered a free sample or you win a prize, but you never entered a competition, be very wary. Free offers and bogus prizes often come with strings attached. If you won a so-called free holiday, for example, you might find that the cost of claiming your prize and the extras that you need to pay will amount to far more than the price of the holiday. Free offers are often used to lure you into signing up for a subscription to something. The best thing for everyone to remember is that if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is!

8. Do Not Let People Pull at Your Heart Strings

Older people are also more likely to get scammed by fraudsters using emotional tricks to obtain money. Scammers might claim they need money to feed their children, for example, when the truth is that they are using this as a ploy simply to make money. Sometimes, scammers will call seniors claiming to be a member of the family. Fraudsters might say, for example, that they are an older person’s grandchild, and they need money to pay their rent. Sadly, the best defense against this type of scam is to trust no one. If someone says that they are a member of the family and they need help, check with another trusted member of the family before you hand any money over.

9. Do Not Invite Strangers into Your Home

Seniors and all of us need to be sure of the identity of a person before we allow them into our homes. Older people, though, are even more at risk if they let a trickster talk their way inside their home. Always ask to see ID if anyone calls at your home, and if you are at all unsure about a person’s identity, do not let them in. Thieves sometimes as pose as utility workers checking for gas leaks, or telephone faults. Once they get you to open the door, they will distract you while an accomplice grabs anything valuable they can find.

10. If in Doubt, Check with a Trusted Friend or Family Member

There is no shame in asking for help when you get older. After all, what is commonplace to the younger generation can be confusing and alien to any of us when we get older. If an older person is at all uncertain of what he or she is signing, agreeing to, or buying, then they should be encouraged to seek a second opinion.

Conclusion

While most people so treat seniors with respect and would never dream of scamming anyone, there are those without a conscience who see seniors as an easy target. So, it is a sad fact of life that older people need to aware that this type of thing does happen in the modern world.

We hope that you found these tips on how to protect seniors against scammers useful. We will be publishing more safety and security tips for seniors soon. If you would like to be notified when there is new content to read on Best Panic Alarm, please subscribe to our mailing list.

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