All too often, seniors find themselves the target of fraud and scams. The rise of technology has provided the means for clever criminals to make convincing fraudulent claims in an attempt to separate you from your hard-earned money.

Today, we look at a few popular scams and what to do to avoid them.

Grandchild in Trouble

In this scheme, criminals pose as a grandchild or another family member claiming that he or she is in trouble and needs money to be sent by wire transfer right away. The scammers may also purport to be calling on the grandchild’s behalf.

Often, they have gone to some trouble to find out details about the child in question and may have gone so far as to contact the grandchild earlier. They might pose as their cell phone provider and advise them that they must shut off their mobile phone for scheduled maintenance, making it impossible for you to get in touch with them right away.

Scams like this prey on a grandparent’s concern and desire to help a child in trouble. The best way to ensure you don’t fall victim to this scheme is to always confirm the whereabouts of your grandchild independently before sending any money.

Phony Medicare Calls

In this scheme, a crook may contact you either by phone or by email claiming to be a representative from a health care provider or from Medicare seeking to access your personal information. They may claim to have spoken with your son or daughter and gotten their permission to get your Social Security number, driver’s license, or other personal information from you.

They may tell you that you have a refund coming to you or that the information in your file is incomplete. Either way, their objective is either to make fraudulent Medicare claims in your name or to steal your identity. The best way to make sure you don’t fall victim to this kind of scam is to never disclose any personal or confidential information by phone unless you are entirely certain of the authenticity of the caller.

If you’re uncertain, tell the caller that you will call back using a phone number published in the phonebook for on the Medicare website. Note: be sure not to look for the website address on your own and don’t necessarily trust any URL provided.

Counterfeit Prescriptions Drugs

The idea of getting your prescription medication at a discounted price from an online provider may seem like a great way to save some money on your monthly expenses. Unfortunately, doing so cannot only be financially costly to you, it can pose a serious health threat.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration, only 3% of online pharmacies are legal. Furthermore, the World Health Organization has concluded that 50% of all medicines sold online are counterfeit and can be potentially dangerous.[1]

You can find out if an online provider is legitimate by checking www.legitscript.com to find out if the website address of the online pharmacy is approved.

With so many predatory scams targeting seniors, as well as the general public, prudence is always your safest bet. Never disclose any confidential or personal information over the phone unless you are 100% certain of the identity of the person on the other end. For more information about different types of fraud and scams, how to protect yourself and how to report, visit www.usa.gov/stop-scams-frauds.

[1] Source: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/abc-news-investigation-counterfeit-prescription-drug-operations-us/story?id=31077758

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