Seniors older than 60 lose nearly $3 billion a year to financial abuse, a recent MetLife survey found.
Seniors are lucrative targets, in part, because crooks know that they likely have money socked away for retirement—money just waiting to be tapped and fleeced.
Here are some of the most common scams.
- Lottery scam. In this scenario, someone contacts you to pay for something you never ordered. Maybe it's a large prize you need to pay fees to receive or a product they said you purchased. Regardless, never give out any personal information to strangers asking for financial account details, your Social Security number, and so forth, and definitely don't pay them anything.
- Grandparent scam. The fraudsters will call posing as either a relative or someone representing a relative, usually a grandchild, and claim this person is in danger in a foreign country. Of course, to get the relative out of trouble, they'll want you to wire them money immediately.
- Cash scams. Around the holidays, a lot of fake charities target seniors. Avoid them by donating only to charitable organizations you are familiar with. In sweetheart scams, a friend, neighbor, or acquaintance gets close to a senior in order to gain access to his or her accounts. Check statements regularly for unknown charges.
- Computer scams. This one usually involves someone stealing your computer to access your financial information. To prevent this, password protect your computer.
- Time-share scam. If you own a time share and are trying to sell it, thoroughly research any company offering to sell it on your behalf—especially if the company wants money upfront.
- Homeowner scam. This one involves people who come to your door saying they were driving by and noticed something wrong with your house that needs immediate attention. They are selling home repairs you don't need. Tell them you'll have your lawyer—or son or daughter—get back to them. Even better—don't answer the door.
If you've been scammed, contact Sun Federal CU at (800) 786-0945 and the Federal Trade Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2014 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. All other rights reserved.