Council on Aging Answers 2017 - 80

5 Scams Targeting Seniors
COUNCIL ON AGING - SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

FINANCE & LEGAL

n Kelli Jean Morris, JD, LLM

Every year, seniors are targeted by scammers and con
artists resulting in losses estimated to exceed 3 billion
dollars. You can protect yourself and others from financial exploitation simply by being aware of these 5 common scams targeting seniors:
Grandparent Scam: You receive an unexpected
phone call from someone claiming to be your grandchild who is in trouble. Your grandchild is in need of
money immediately to get out of jail, buy a plane ticket
home, pay off a debt to avoid harm or jail time. The call
is usually made in the
middle of the night so
you are caught off guard
and won't question
the story. What to do:
Hang up and call your
grandchild or other
family members to verify the need for help. If
you believe your grandchild really is in trouble,
contact the police or an
attorney for advice.
Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams: Receipt of offers by phone, mail or email to purchase foreign lottery tickets or notification that you have won or have
been entered to win a sweepstakes. When you respond
to these offers and notifications, you are asked to pay
for the ticket or a fee to collect your sweepstakes winnings. Often the scammer will demand that you provide
personal and credit card information which facilitates
identity theft or wire money immediately. Either way,
you lose! What to do: Never provide personal, account
or credit card information or wire money to anyone you
don't know.
IRS/Jury Duty Scams: An unexpected caller claims
to be an IRS or court official calling because of a tax
debt or because you missed jury duty. The scammer
threatens legal action and asks that you provide payment by credit card or wire transfer to avoid suspension
of your driver's license, deportation, a lawsuit or arrest.
The caller ID may actually indicate the call is coming
from the IRS or courts and often there is background
80

Answers Guide 2017	

noise mimicking a call center. However, neither the IRS
nor courts will ever call you without first sending you
written notice of a pending action. What to do: Ask the
caller to send written notice of your debt or failure to appear for jury duty. DO NOT provide personal, account
or credit card information or wire money to the caller.
Sweetheart Swindle: You are courted or befriended
by a stranger through constant phone and/or online
contact. Once the scammer captures your heart, they
suddenly need to borrow money for one 'emergency' after another. What to do: If you are asked to make a loan,
do so in person rather than electronic means. NEVER
"wire" money to anyone
you don't know and
haven't actually seen. If
you are repeatedly asked
to make loans to the
same person, involve
family members or a
trusted friend or advisor
for a "second opinion."
Trunk Box Scam:
You receive a letter,
email, or phone call
from a "US Soldier" proclaiming to have discovered millions of dollars packed
in a trunk or the scammer befriends a widow of a soldier
who has stashed money in trunk while serving overseas.
The soldier or widow then asks you to wire money to
bribe foreign officials, or pay a Barrister or courier to get
the money back to the US and promise to reward you
for your help by splitting the trunk contents with you.
What to do: Don't engage in deals to get money out of
a foreign country. Even if a trunk of money exists, engaging in bribery and payoffs, and moving money into
the US from a foreign country outside of the banking
system is illegal and may result in criminal charges. And
again...NEVER wire money to anyone not personally
known to you.
For additional information:
n Council on Aging of Southern California:
714-479-0107, www.coasc.org
n National Center on Elder Abuse: 855-500-3537
(ELDR), ncea.acl.gov
n National Council on Aging: 571-527-3900, ncoa.org

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Council on Aging Answers 2017

Contents
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Intro
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Cover1
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Cover2
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