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Financial Scams that Target the Elderly

According to the Investor Protection Trust, 20% of Americans over the age of 65 have fallen victim to financial scams. Here are some typical scams to look out for.

You're a Winner – You receive a call or letter saying you've won a prize, but in order to receive it, you need to wire money for taxes, fees or shipping. No legitimate contest will have you wire money prior to receiving the prize.

I Need Help – Someone poses as your grandchild, saying they need money after an accident or arrest. One way to prevent this is to ask the "grandchild" something only they can answer, such as his/her school name, first pet's name, etc. Another way this scam works is when the criminal poses as a bank examiner or police officer saying that your bank account has fraud on it and asks for your account information. Never give out your account information in an unsolicited phone call.

Attend a Life Changing Seminar – Be wary of investment and estate planning seminars from people you don't know. These often include a free lunch or prize. They will collect your personal information to use later, or sell you expensive or worthless products and services. Also ignore deals for expensive trips and timeshares that seem to good to be true.

You Need a New Roof – The "contractor" offers special deals for seniors, free inspections or sees something wrong with your roof. If you agree to it, you are charged an outrageous price for work that probably didn't need doing, prices that increase in the middle of the job or the work never gets completed. Before hiring someone, ask to see the contractor's license number and check it with the state Contractor’s License Board.

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