One in 18 seniors will become the victim of scammers this year, and those thieves will steal $3 billion from us. Others say these figures are too low because many scams aren’t reported, and the thieves could well be getting as much as $36 billion a year.

How do the scammers con us? Maybe we did well in life and not only have money in the bank, but we also receive a Social Security check every month, so we’re more relaxed about money. Maybe we didn’t do well financially and could use some extra cash if it’s offered, not recognizing a scam.

We might have a medical problem, and it’s just easier to give in when we’re pushed. Often we’re lonely and are too willing to talk to people who call us, or we’re scared when they threaten us. There are many ways thieves can break down our barriers.

What do they want? Money, any way they can get it. They want our banking information, passwords and logins, Medicare number, Social Security number — anything that will get them access to our money and identification.

Why don’t we turn them in when we get scammed? We’re embarrassed, shocked that someone did this to us and that we fell for it.

How do they get to us? The internet is the most likely way, or they might call on the phone.

Mortgage, pretend grandchildren, Social Security, home repairs, sweepstakes prizes, Medicare, phony IRS calls, investments, counterfeit drugs — all of these and more are associated with scams against seniors.

If you haven’t taken a scam class at the senior center, do so. Or, if none is offered, ask for one to be created. Out of approximately 20 people in a class, at least one has already been victimized.

© 2019 King Features Synd., Inc.

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