The Federal Trade Commission’s 2017 fraud statistics are out. Many were surprised to learn that more young adults fell for scams than seniors. Among the age range of 20 to 29, 4 out of 10 people reported losing money in a scam. Only 18 percent of people over 70 reported being scammed. The big difference is that younger adults lost an average of $400 each, while seniors reported losing around $1,000.
The Three Main Forms of Fraud.
Three forms of fraud stood out. The first was debt collection fraud. People were getting notifications that they owed money and paid it to avoid damage to their credit score, possible legal fees, or jail time. Sometimes, these callers use names similar to those of local businesses that you may have done business with at some point.
Identity theft was next. People get tricked into giving out a credit card number or SSN. In some cases, the information is stolen through hacks into databases of stores, banks, and even credit reporting sites like Equifax. Thieves then use that information to get cash by making purchases, withdrawing cash, or filing taxes using your stolen SSN.
Imposter scams were the third most common scam. In this case, someone poses as an agent of an agency and demands money to avoid legal fees or even jail time. IRS, a grandchild is in jail, and unpaid parking/speeding ticket emails and calls are examples of imposter scams.
Easy Tips to Avoid a Scam.
To keep your elderly parent from falling for a scam, try to keep them from answering the phone. It’s getting harder now that scammers are rigging the caller ID to display a local person or business’s number. If your parent does answer, make sure they know to never give out information.
They should ask that the company follows the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and send everything in writing. If they threaten your parent, they need to hang up and report the caller’s phone number and name to the FTC.
Research everything. If your parent feels a call was legitimate, they can have you do some research. If the caller claims to have been a grandchild, your parent should hang up and call that grandchild’s parents to ask if they’re really in that location. If the call is a local business, they should look up the business’s number and call. They can see if the company really did call and if there is unpaid debt.
Make sure your parent isn’t answering the phone in order to have someone to talk to. If loneliness is a factor, caregivers can prevent loneliness by offering companionship services as part of a senior care package.
If you have a loved one who could benefit from senior care in Vallejo, CA, contact the caregivers at A Better Living Home Care Agency. We help seniors and their families with many levels of home care. Call 925-566-2366 for more information.