Tips for Identifying and Preventing Scammers for Elders

According to an article released from Norton Life Lock, an identity theft protection agency, more than 2.6 million elder Americans fall victim to identity theft and financial fraud abuse. The agency said that at least 36 billion dollars is taken from elderly people each year.

Home Care Services Murfreesboro TN - Tips for Identifying and Preventing Scammers for Elders
Home Care Services Murfreesboro TN – Tips for Identifying and Preventing Scammers for Elders

“The elderly are prime targets to identity thieves because they are often easy to trick into providing personal information over the phone or in response to an email that can be used to make them victims of identity theft,” said Professor Steven J.J. Weisman in a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Identity theft and financial fraud is a growing epidemic among elderly Americans. It is important to be educated on the different types of fraud and how to protect your elder loved one from falling victim.

Popular types of scams

Scammers often get hold of senior’s personal information and money through emails, mail theft, by telephone or by impersonating government officials, such as Medicare officials or as an Internal Revenue Service agent.

Telephone scams. Often identity thieves will target seniors over the phone looking to gain their trust and hand over personal information, such as financial data.

Internet scams. Online scammers will sometimes transmit seemingly legitimate requests from banks, credit card companies, mortgage companies or other agencies to try and trick seniors into providing such information as account numbers, Social Security numbers, or other personal information the thieves can use in identity and monetary fraud.

Impersonating a loved one or government official. Sometimes scammers will impersonate a loved one of the victims. The con artist will say that the senior’s grandchild, for example, is in trouble and money must be sent to “bail” them out. Or the impersonator will say they are from the IRS and the victim must pay “X” amount of money to avoid being incarcerated.

7 tips to avoid falling victim to scammers

Hang up the phone. If someone calls pretending to be a bank or credit card company, for instance, claiming they need personal information or else your account will be disrupted or perhaps they state it already has been, it is ok to hang up. Instead of providing the information the scammers request, hang up and contact the number provided by your bank or credit company and explain what happened and check to make sure your account is safe.

Don’t just click. Avoid clicking on “pop-ups” while browsing the internet. Scammers sometimes transmit an advertisement that seems safe, but by clicking on it, it allows them to have access to your computer and personal information. To avoid following victim to such “pop-up” scams, type in a URL yourself and don’t just click any advertisements.

Use direct deposit. Identity thieves will sometimes steal mail containing Social Security benefits or other personal/financial checks and information. Look into setting up direct deposit for Social Security checks and other income with your bank account.

Be wary of who has access to personal information. In some cases, even family members or professional figures, such as doctors, can take advantage of seniors. Make sure those you trust with personal information are honest.

Review Statements. Make a habit of checking bank and credit statements, healthcare records and invoices, and other statements, looking for unfamiliar transactions or charges to the account. Call your bank, doctor’s office, or contact information for the document right away if something does not look right.

Shred documents. Make it has difficult as possible for identity thieves to take advantage of you. This can mean, shredding important documents such as bank statements, healthcare records and other papers with personal information.

Protect yourself. Look into an identity theft agency that can “lock” accounts from fraud attempts. Some protection agencies will even alert you if there has been any unusual activity on certain accounts. Some banks and credit companies have protection options as well.

It can be easy for anyone to fall victim to identity and financial fraud. That is why it is important to be aware of different scams and take precautions to protect one’s self from falling victim. For elder people, it can be even more essential to be protected. Many seniors may not know how to protect themselves from fraud, or they may not be cable due to such ailments as dementia or Alzheimer’s that may impair their judgement when faced with a scamming situation.

Educating yourself, your elder loved one and their home care services provider on the ways identity theft and financial fraud can happen and taking steps to protect personal and important information can make it less likely for your loved one to become a victim of scammers.


If you or an aging loved-one are considering Home Care Services in Murfreesboro TN, please contact the caring staff at Touching Hearts at Home. Serving Middle Tennessee (Nashville, Brentwood, Bell Meade, Franklin, Spring Hill, Columbia, Pulaski, and more!) Call today: 629-203-7925.

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