Fresno, Ca — Aug 21, 2013 — In 1988, President Ronald Reagan declared August 21 to be National Senior Citizens Day, the day to recognize contributions senior citizens make to the country. According to the Administration of Aging, by the year 2030 the population of people 65 years and older are expected to grow 19 percent, which is about 72.1million. But unfortunately, as this demographic continues to grow, so do the scams against them.
According to the most recent Elder Fraud Survey by Investor Protection Trust, one in five seniors has been victimized by a financial fraud. Senior citizens are fraud targets for a variety of reasons. Typically, they are likely to have excellent credit and own their home. They are unlikely to report a fraud because they are often unaware they’ve been scammed or are ashamed they’ve been defrauded.
Better Business Bureau and the FBI want each senior citizen to be aware of scams/fraud schemes that could be pursuing them. Common scams that specifically target senior citizens are:
- Health Care/Insurance Fraud: Scammers may pose as a Medicare representative to get seniors to give them their personal or financial information. They’ve been known to provide bogus services for elderly people by creating makeshift mobile clinics, then using the personal information provided to bill Medicare and pocket the money.
- Door to Door Sales/Repairs: Scammers will often go door-to-door offering repair services or equipment sales. Products purchased may never be delivered, repairs may never be done or refunds won’t be received.
- Funeral/Cemetery Fraud: Scammers will attend the funeral service of a stranger to take advantage of the widower or other family member, claiming the deceased had an outstanding debt with them. They will aggressively demand payment to settle fake debts.
- Counterfeit Prescription Drugs: Consumers can now refill prescriptions online, but an unauthorized site with the best price may send ineffective or harmful drugs.
- Telemarketing Fraud: Telemarketing scams often involve calls and email offers of free prizes, low-cost vitamins or health care products. Once a successful deal has been made, the buyer’s name and personal information is then shared with similar schemers looking for easy targets.
- Fraudulent “Anti-Aging” Products: Scammer-distributors will suggest bogus homeopathic remedies that do nothing or will use renegade labs to create versions of products which can have health consequences.
- Internet Fraud: Pop-up browser windows simulating virus-scanning software will fool victims into downloading a fake program. In some cases a virus will be downloaded allowing scammers to steal personal and financial information.