Avoiding Senior Scams

Long View: Don’t Be Fooled This April

I grew up in a small household and was the baby in the family. I always loved to laugh and still do today. It’s one of my daily doses of medicine!

As a kid, I always liked April Fools’ Day. I would spend the night before thinking of how I could fool my older sister and parents.

One year, I screamed and got my family’s attention by saying there was a mouse in the kitchen. My sister stood on top of a chair at the kitchen table, and my mom went to get my dad to set the mouse trap. Once everyone was gathered, I said, “Do you know what day it is?” It took a minute or two, but when they saw the fooled-you-again grin on my face, they knew. April fools!

Every year, I would come up with something fun, and wouldn’t you know, my family would fall for it — every, single, time. The point was to get them to laugh, and of course for me, it was another successful first day of April for the books!

Little pranks are fun when you’re a kid, making your family laugh and being the clown of the family. But these days, we see pranks that aren’t so fun that target our senior population, and the point isn’t laughter, but rather to take advantage of them. These pranks are called senior scams, and April is prime time for scammers to come out and make their move.

One of the biggest scams every year is the IRS phone scam. With many people still filing their taxes in the final 2 weeks of tax season, we all should be on the alert. These scammers will use fake names and badge numbers, and they can even alter caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. As tax filing season draws to an end in April, these scammers will threaten police arrest or possibly make other threats to prey on the senior population.

Why are older citizens targeted?

Many seniors have some kind of “nest egg” they rely on, and this population is also known for having excellent credit. Also, people who grew up in the 1930s through the 1950s were generally raised to be polite. In other words, they may listen longer without cutting off conversations. This allows the scammer more conversation time to be convincing and possibly get their victim to fall for the scam.

Some general tips to remember are that government agencies do not perform their work over the phone. They also don’t use email, texting, or social media to reach out to consumers. If you’re approached by any of these means, report it. If you’ve been targeted by this scam, you can go to FTC.gov and use the Federal Trade Commission’s Complaint Assistant, or call them at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

Don’t get fooled this April. Get your dose of the last laugh as you stay focused on not being a target of senior scams.

 

Mervet Adams is a community liaison with Health Alliance. She loves her grandson, family, nature, and fashion.

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