Fraud and Scams- Be on the lookout!

Fraud and Scams- Be on the lookout!

March 04, 2024

Stories of fraud and scammers make my blood boil.  While age brings wisdom, it can also bring vulnerability.  Scammers have long targeted older adults- they have more money, and are also more trusting and unaware of the sophisticated schemes used to prey on them. 

Awareness of these schemes is the first step to protecting yourself, your parents, and other vulnerable folks in your circle. 

The FBI and Internet Crime Complaint Center list the top scams:

Technical Support Scams: You receive some sort of popup message, email or notification telling you that you need tech support to fix your computer or phone. 

The scammer requests remote access to the device or a fee to have it repaired, or a new subscription to software. 

In 2021, a man lost $200,000 to scammers pretending to work for an antivirus company, who gained remote access to his bank account.

 Non-payment/ non-delivery scams: You receive a notice that USPS or another trusted courier has attempted delivery and you need to pay to receive your goods.  I get these- they look legitimate!

Government Impersonation scams: Scammers pretend to be from Medicare, the IRS, or the Social Security Administration. 

They threaten a cutoff of benefits unless you provide personal identifying information (which can then be used to commit identity theft) or immediate payment of unpaid taxes to prevent arrest!

Sweepstakes and lottery scams: You’ve won a valuable prize!!  All you have to do is pay taxes and processing fees to collect your winnings! 

This has been around a while, but as recently as 2021, older adults were scammed out of $53 million.

Romance scams: During the pandemic, people were lonelier than ever and looking for connections online. 

This may be why people have reported losing more money on romance scams than any other fraud type in recent years. 

Attractive online profiles draw people in when scammers make connections with them through social media contact, or “wrong number” texts.  After preying on loneliness with loving attention and romance, eventually they ask for money. 

Please pay special attention if a lonely family member seems to be in an online relationship with a stranger- this could be a red flag.

Phishing and robocalls are just a few other ways criminals try to lure us in. Unfortunately, we must all play this game of whack-a-mole as criminals think up new ways to part us from our hard-earned money. 

Before responding to any strangers with unusual or suspicious requests, be sure to access resources out there for your protection. 

Call the police, your bank, and Adult Protective Services in the area- it just might prevent others from being scammed. 

 

AARP Scam Helpline 877-908-3360

ReportFraud.ftc.gov

Eldercare Locator 800-677-1116

Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Securities and Retirement Plan Consulting Program services offered through LPL Financial, a

Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advice offered through Western Wealth Management LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor. LPL Financial, Kennebec Wealth Management LLC and Western Wealth Management LLC are separate entities