Scamming the elderly and grandparents

Scams targeting seniors have grown more prevalent in the 21st century. Thieves assume older people have a lot of money sitting in their accounts just waiting to be stolen. These crimes leave their victims financially vulnerable, unable to recoup their losses.

Grandparent scams

This particularly insidious scam preys upon the bonds of family. Typically, the scammer contacts the victim posing as a relative in distress or someone acting on behalf of a relative, such as a lawyer or law enforcement. The contact may come via telephone, email, text message or social media. The scammer claims to be in trouble and needs the grandparent to wire them money or buy pre-paid gift cards to pay for for bail, lawyer’s fees, hospital bills or similar. The scammer asks the victim not to tell anyone about the transaction because they don’t want to “get in trouble.” Remember: Any urgent request to wire money should be viewed with suspicion.

Medical scams

In one version of the medical scam, thieves pose as Medicare representatives to convince older people to turn over personal information. In another version, con artists set up makeshift mobile clinics, then bill Medicare for the “services” they provide using the older person’s personal information. A third medical scam involves selling counterfeit prescription drugs over the Internet. You’re always safer buying your prescriptions from a reputable pharmacy.


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