Be Careful – Vultures Are Trying to Steal Your Money

We older people tend to become more trusting as we age. This can set us up to be taken advantage of by others.  When that happens, it costs us money which we can’t afford to lose.

Always Be Cautious When Someone Asks You for Money

The money predators take is money we have worked hard for. When we lose money, we may have to scrimp and struggle to survive because we have no way to replace what we have lost.

We need to be on guard for con artists trying to steal our money and the ways they do this. At any given time, there are many different scams going on. Here are the most prominent ones bring used today.

10 Common Scams Today

Your Social Security Number Has Been Suspended

Your phone rings. You answer it. A recorded message tells you your Social Security number has been suspended because of suspected fraudulent activity. You will no longer receive your monthly Social Security benefits.

The message goes on to say If you feel this is an error, stay on the line. Someone will help you.  That person will ask you to verify your Social Security number and to give them the name of your bank and account information.

The scammer uses the information to drain your bank accounts and to make purchases in your name.

You need to be aware – no one from Social Security ever makes a phone call like this.

The Grieving, Lonely Person Scam

Have you experienced grief after loss of a spouse?  Were you lonely?  Don’t be ashamed if you felt both. Many do.

When people are grieving or lonely, they look for others to help them get through it.

Unfortunately, some don’t get it from a family member or friend because they don’t want anyone close to them to know they are suffering. They go online and meet someone there.

Over time, the friendship deepens and they start to call and email each other frequently. Many times, this person they meet online lives far way and there is no easy way for them to meet in person.

At some point, this other person may say they need money for food or to pay bills they or their children can’t pay. The lonely person is empathetic. They send them money or a check to cover what they need.

Afterwards, more requests for cash and money are made and the amount asked for increases. Eventually the lonely, grieving person or one of their family members realizes most of their savings are gone and they have been taken advantage of.

The Medicare Scam

You may get a phone call from someone claiming to be a Medicare representative. During the call, they ask you for your Medicare number and other personal information. They use this information to submit bogus claims to Medicare and pocket the money.

Bogus Prescription Drugs

Charges for Prescription Drugs regularly go up.

As the cost of your drugs increase, you may have a harder time paying for them. You may cut back on how frequently you take them or even sacrifice in other areas just to make sure you can get the drugs you need.

You may have seen websites online where it looks like you can get the drugs you need more cheaply than what you’re paying locally.  Be careful here.

Unscrupulous people have set up websites advertising cheap prescription drugs. However, they may not be the ones you are taking.  The dosage may be lower or they may be knock-offs.  You may find these drugs don’t help your condition at all.  Sometimes these drugs cause other health problems you may not have now.

Funeral Scams

 There are 2 common scams you need to be aware of.

Funeral directors are guilty of the first.  Some sell the members of a deceased person’s family a regular casket when the deceased person is going to be cremated. When people are cremated, paper caskets are actually used.

In the other scam, scammers get information on people who died from their obituaries. They then show up at or after their funerals claiming the deceased people owed them money and asking that it be repaid immediately. All too often, a grieving family member pays them the money rather than checking to see if the claim is legitimate.

Internet scams

This scam targets those people who don’t use a computer regularly.

When you get on the Internet, be aware of scammers trying  to trick you into downloading software which will give them access to personal information.  Other scammers will ask you to update bank and credit card information on a bogus website.

In each instance, the scammers use the information they obtain to steal your money or make purchases in your name.

Investment Scams

Be aware – there are people claiming to be financial advisers who say they can get you better returns on your money.  Once they get access to your retirement or savings accounts, they will drain your money from these quickly.

The Grandchild Scam

This scam has been around for years. However, it still occurs frequently.

On a weekend night, your phone rings. When you answer, the person calling says it’s your grandson or granddaughter. They tell you they were in a car accident and are at the hospital or they have been arrested for speeding. They need money for the hospital bill or to get out of jail.

They then tell you where you can send them the money they need.

The Prize Scam

When you answer your phone, the caller tells you about this great prize you won.  However, to get the prize, you have to pay a fee.  They tell you how to send the money to them.

The Found Money Scam

Here, a scammer tells you they have found a large sum of money. They are willing to share it with you. Before they can, you have to make a good faith gesture – that is, to give them a specified amount of money.

Needless to say, you never hear from the scammer after they get your money. You’ve lost whatever you gave them.

These are the nine most common scams today. However, there are other ones. New scams appear all of the time.

5 Steps You Can Take Today to Protect Yourself

 How can you protect yourself from being victimized by a scammer?

First – Know that people may try to rip you off.  Familiarize yourself with each of these scams or any variations of them. Be alert for any other ones you hear about.

Second – Use the caller ID on your phone to screen all calls you get.  If you don’t recognize a caller’s phone number, don’t answer the call. Let it go into voicemail.  Most times a scammer won’t leave a message.

If in a message the caller says they’re from Social Security, the IRS or the Police, don’t call that number back.  Call the Social Security Administration, the IRS or the Police Department first and ask them about the message you got.

Third – If you are grieving the loss of a spouse or loved one or are lonely, don’t go online for help. It’s better to see a counselor who will help you handle your grief and loneliness.  There are also many local grief groups which help people following the loss of loved ones. Check one of those out.

Fourth – If you get a call from someone claiming to be your grandchild saying there at a hospital or in jail, first verify with their parents or one of their siblings that what the caller told you is correct.

Fifth – If someone tells you you have won money, check it out before you give them money. Always remember – if it seems too good to be true, most likely it isn’t true.

You worked hard for your money. Don’t let anyone rip you off.


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