How Seniors Can Avoid Being Swindled and Scammed
Anyone can fall victim to a scam but con artists have set their sights on older adults and made senior citizens their prime target. Each year, Seniors in the US, are swindled out of an estimated $37 billion according to a report by True Lin Financial. They are scammed mainly through financial exploitation, criminal fraud, and caregiver abuse. To help seniors avoid being swindled and scammed Alcatraz East Crime Museum and AARP have joined efforts on a temporary exhibit to help seniors recognize, refuse, and report scams.
“We all want to protect our aging parents and loved ones,” said Janine Vaccarello, chief operating officer for Alcatraz East. “The more people understand how victims are targeted, the more we can do to protect ourselves from these crimes.”
Check out these simple ways that Seniors and their caregivers can help avoid being swindled and scammed.
- Remember Anyone Can Be A Victim – Scammers are getting smarter every day and no one is exempt from being a target. Even educated people are preyed upon and often times scammers use fear to make people forget rational thinking.
- Be Aware That Scams Exist – When being approached by people that you are unfamiliar with in person, on the phone, via email, or on social media consider the possibility that it is a scam. A good thing to remember if it is too good to be true most likely it is.
- Make Sure You Know Who You Are Dealing With – Do your research if you have only met the person online or briefly in person. If you can’t find any information reach out to someone else for help.
- Don’t Open Suspicious Emails or Links – If you are unsure who something is from of the link looks suspicious just delete. If you aren’t sure it is a company you deal with contact them through the methods you know how not through the links in the email.
- Keep Your Information Secure – Make sure to you passwords that are not easily known to others and lock your computer when you are not home to avoid others signing on without your knowledge. If you have a home Wi-Fi network, make sure that you have it secured with a password and not open to anyone.
- Be Careful When Shopping Online – Make sure you are shopping on trusted sites and that they have a secured network for submitting information. Look for the “https” before their web address.
These are just a few tips to help you avoid being swindled and scammed. It is important to remember that scams come in all forms and anyone is a possible victim. Check with your local senior center to see if they offer classes on computer usage or ways to help make sure you are protected online.
Alcatraz East and the AARP Foundation are doing their part with the year-long exhibit which is titled “Scamalot: Conquring the Con” and opens on September 21, 2017. The exhibit was created by AARP Foundation’s fraud experts and is hosted by Alcatraz East. Visitors will encounter fraud in its various forms, including impostor scams, investment fraud and lottery scams. The exhibit will also feature stories of notable fraudsters, such as Charles Ponzi, and information on how the public can protect themselves from scams. Among the exhibit’s features will be objects related to infamous fraudsters Bernie Madoff, Lou Pearlman and David Hampton. Visitors will also be able to test their scam spotting skills through interactive displays.
“Scamalot” will explore common scams and how to avoid them, including:
- IRS scams, in which a caller posing as an Internal Revenue Service agent threatens the victim with arrest if they don’t pay.
- Tech support scams, in which fraudsters gain access to personal information by offering to “fix” a nonexistent computer virus.
- Sweepstakes scams, which promise a large cash prize in return for a “claim fee.”
“Con artists have their sights set on older adults,” said Emily Allen, senior vice president of programs for AARP Foundation. “Seniors are likely to have accumulated savings, own their home and have good credit — making them attractive targets. We developed ‘Scamalot: Conquering the Con’ to build awareness and understanding of the different types of fraud.”
The museum is open 365 days a year, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., with the last ticket sold 60 minutes before closing. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.alcatrazeast.com.
For more information you can visit AARP Foundation and Alcatraz East online.