Warning Signs That Scammers May be Targeting Your Loved One
According to a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) report, 105,301 senior citizens fell victim to financial scams in 2020, resulting in a total loss of over $1 billion. The average amount lost per person was $9,175, with almost 2,000 senior citizens losing more than $100,000. As scammers prey on the elderly and vulnerable, we have to make certain that we can recognize a scam and its signs before any harm occurs.
Types of Scams
Scammers, and their ploys, have been around for centuries; yet their primary purpose has always remained the same: to deceive the unsuspecting into giving away their money. With the same goal in mind, scammers have been able to change the methods in which they operate. Here are some of the current scams to look out for.
In the above report by the FBI, senior citizens lost over $38 million due to “winning a contest.” In these cases, the victim is told they have won a contest they had never entered. The victim is then directed to pay upfront taxes and fees before being able to claim their prize.
Signs to Watch For
- Your loved one says they have won a contest that they do not remember entering.
- The scammer asks your loved one for their banking information.
- They try to submit payments in the form of wire transfers, preloaded debit cards or gift cards.
Threatening Government Calls
Government impersonation scams were reported over 4,100 times resulting in losses of nearly $46 million. A victim may receive a call from someone pretending to be from the Social Security Administration, the Internal Revenue Service or any other government agency. They will be told that they are under investigation, and if they do not pay a certain amount of money, they will be arrested.
How to Know It’s Not the Government
- Government officials will never contact you by phone to tell you that you are being investigated.
- In these cases, the officials will contact you via mail or in person.
- A government official will never threaten you or attempt to extort you over the phone.
- Payment will never be requested via forms like wire transfers or gift cards.
Potential Love Interests
When our loved ones are at their most vulnerable, scammers introduce themselves into their lives and attempt to steal from them. These scams are often called "romance scams". Totaling losses of over $281 million, romance scams involve the scammer presenting themselves as a love interest, gaining trust over a period of time and eventually asking for money for things like medical expenses or legal fees.
Signs to Look Out For
- The “love interest” has a profile picture connected to other accounts with different names and personal information.
- Your loved one begins to isolate themselves from the family in favor of their new relationship.
- They have never met in person, with the suspected scammer always having an excuse.
Has Your Loved One Been Scammed?
The attorneys at Obenshain Law Group have been getting justice for those injured by the wrongdoing of others for more than 30 years. Our results-driven strategies allow us to effectively handle and present your case as we help you obtain you and your loved one’s rightful compensation. If you believe your loved one has been the victim of elder fraud, contact the Harrisonburg elder fraud attorneys today.
Call our office today at (540) 318-7360 or visit our website to fill outa free consultation.