Are You Really Protecting Yourself from Elder Scams?

We recently attended The Better Business Bureau Fraud Prevention Seminar in our city that was focused on protecting Senior Citizens. The BBB has long been a go-to for consumers wishing to determine the trustworthiness of particular business entities.  However, the BBB also strives to educate about and protect consumers from the pitfalls of fraud and unscrupulous business entities. bbb

Seniors and the elderly are the #1 population targeted for fraud.  Their increased vulnerability is, essentially, because this age group is so trusting of others.  In addition, they may have physical or mental limitations that contribute to their susceptibility to being taken advantage of.  You may be surprised to learn that education level is not an indicator of resistance to scams.  Another interesting statistic is that males are more likely to be scammed than females!

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According to Caroline Farmer, Deputy Director-NC Attorney General’s office, the 3 Components of Identity Theft are:  Name, Date of Birth, & your Social Security Number.  One way to protect yourself is to NEVER carry your Social Security card on your person unless you have a specific appointment where it will be needed; the same practice should be carried out for your Medicare Insurance Card since it contains your SSN as well. something fishy

Phone scams pose another danger for the elderly.  The phone calls often seem to be of a very urgent nature, calling for an immediate action.  Before giving personal information over the phone (or online) verify the legitimacy of the request.  Ms. Farmer’s advice is to “screen your calls  and, when feeling unsure or harassed, just hang up!”

More information is available at the following sites:

http://www.bbb.org/charlotte/programs-services/bbb-military-line/

http://ncdoj.gov/

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