Scam artists and fraudsters love targeting the elderly any time of year, especially around the holidays when many seniors are feeling lonely and depressed. The holidays can also be rough for older adults searching online for great gifts for their loved ones. Protecting yourself or an aging loved one from holiday scams requires advanced knowledge of scammers’ tactics. What follows are several common holiday scams that target seniors, along with tips for keeping you or that special senior in your life from becoming a victim of financial abuse.
Fake Apps and Loyalty Programs
Fraudsters often use compelling offers to convince people that the deals they find online are legit. Once they convince an older online shopper that their discounts are legit, the scam artist then uses other tools like a fake app to reel in their victim. Often, these fake apps are designed to offer substantial savings while mimicking well-known retailers.
Before downloading any apps, check whether the business’ name is spelled correctly and has any customer reviews. If there are typos and zero reviews, it’s likely a trap. In some cases, a retailer you frequent might say they want to reward you with a gift card. To access your reward, all you must do is click a link and provide your personal information. Although this sounds simple enough, it’s best to ignore these online offers, as there’s a legitimate chance that they aren’t real.
Because many seniors try to reconnect with family members during the holiday season, scams are often people pretending to be a grandchild in trouble. Those fraudsters might say that they’ve experienced some difficulty and need cash for legal fees, bail, hospital bills, or vehicle repairs. As your “grandchild,” they will stress that you can’t tell their parents for fear of retribution.
The most reliable way to avoid this type of grandparent scam is by taking the time to verify the information. Talking to your relatives will quickly expose the fraudster before you’ve had time to wire any money. Remember that money is rarely an immediate concern in a medical or legal emergency, giving you plenty of time to practice due diligence.
Fake Charity Scams
Fake charity scams are another favorite tactic of con artists late in the year because many seniors like to give back during the holidays. The fraudster will typically pose as someone from a reputable nonprofit charity while soliciting donations for a made-up cause.
Before writing that check or providing your credit card info, confirm that the charity is legitimate and that your donation is going to the right place. Watchdog organizations like the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance can tell you if the charity in question is reputable.
Although email phishing scams happen throughout the year, there’s an uptick of these fraud schemes during the holiday season. Email scams are ideal for stealing personal information, which means seniors need to be on guard for emails from suspicious or unfamiliar sources.
Fortunately, fraudulent emails are easy to detect if you know where to look. For example, fake emails often have typos and other errors that aren’t easy to notice at first glance. If a fraudulent email appears to come from a reputable source, you can often tell by the grammar and writing mistakes. A good rule of thumb is never to open an email unless you are entirely sure that it’s from a trusted source.
You can also report email scammers by sending the information to your local law enforcement officials or the Federal Trade Commission.
We Can Help Prevent Seniors From Experiencing These Holiday Scams
Protecting an aging loved one from scams throughout the year isn’t easy when you can’t always be there. At First In Care, our compassionate caregivers can step in and provide your senior with the scam-prevention assistance and companionship they deserve. While serving as an extended family in your loved one’s home, our highly trained professionals understand what’s required to maintain a client’s quality of life, along with their dignity and self-esteem.
In addition to companionship care uniquely tailored to your family’s needs, First In Care also provides in-home support for other daily living activities like personal hygiene, light housework, medication reminders, and transportation. Our senior caregiving services are affordable, flexible, and always delivered in a seamless package that restores your peace of mind. To learn more now about our private home health and concierge services in Bradenton and Manatee County, Florida, please visit www.firstincare.com.