Anyone can be a victim of fraud or identity theft, but according to the Office of the Indiana Attorney General, criminals tend to focus most on us elderly folk. Why? Because we are easy targets. We’re home more, we often live alone, and there are times when we are just plain lonely, making us more inclined to communicate with perfect strangers. Conditions like dementia and other physical and mental deteriorations can complicate matters even more.
But there are ways to detect a scam when it pops up in your inbox or on your caller ID.
The Grandparent scam: A stranger pretending to be your grandchild calls and alerts you they’ve been thrown in jail in a foreign country and needs money for bail. Because you care for them and love them, you send the money, which goes straight into a criminal’s pocket.
The pretend IRS agents: Fraud experts are great with impersonations, even when pretending to be an IRS agent. Someone contacts you about back taxes or owed money, coerces you into believing you missed a payment, and the next thing you know, you’ve lost thousands.
Bogus lotteries: You get a message in the mail or a phone call stating that you’ve won the lottery, or a grand prize of sorts. The contact asks for your back account information or a service fee for the money transfer so you can collect your winnings. Except that the legitimate Lottery never asks for money upfront or your personal financial information.
How your information is obtained
Criminals can find your information online, by picking up the phone book, or by looking at:
- Magazine subscriptions
- Internet/online databases
- Phone books
- Online payment systems
- Passwords saved online
Scams, schemes, cons. There are people out there working round the clock to keep them going, so be on the look out for requests for bank account or social security information, as well as suspicious letters or blocked calls.
To learn more about how you can protect yourself and your family, download these helpful resources:
AG Consumer Protection Services
The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.