According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), older adults (those 60 and older) are the least likely of any age group to report losing money to fraud, but when they do experience fraud with higher losses than adults aged 20-59.
That was one of the findings in Protecting Older Consumers: A Report of the FTC, which highlights findings from the agency’s fraud reports showing trends in how older adults are being affected by fraud.
The FTC tracks popular scams and regularly issues warnings of current scams to avoid. Several of the most popular are scams that specifically target older adults. Here are three of them:
- Medicare scams – There are a variety of Medicare scams out there. A common one is a call from a scammer who tells the recipient they need to replace their Medicare card. In order to do so, the scammer asks for their current Medicare number, which can then be used to bill false services to Medicare. The FTC warns, “Even if your Caller ID says it's Medicare, it could be faked.” Learn more.
- Grandparent scams – With this scam, the fraudster calls an older person pretending to be their grandchild. The grandchild says he or she is in jail (or some other legal trouble) and needs bail immediately. The grandparent is directed to wire transfer money to get the child out of jail — and to keep it secret from mom and dad. Learn more.
- Social Security scams – With this scam, the caller tells victims that their Social Security benefits will end or their Social Security number will be suspended unless they pay immediately. Often they’ll request payment via wire transfer, cryptocurrency, or even gift cards. They may even threaten the victim, saying they’ll be arrested if they don’t pay. The scammer could be seeking money, personal information, or both. Learn more.
What’s the solution to stop these illegal calls? This is what the FTC recommends:
“Just hang up the phone on unwanted calls. Consider call-blocking services to reduce the number of unwanted calls you get. Ask your phone carrier about call blocking.”
If you’re a phone carrier and you don’t currently offer spam and fraud call blocking services, consider Hiya Protect. Hiya Protect detects spam and fraud calls with high accuracy, without blocking important calls. It is used by phone carriers, mobile phone manufacturers, and network providers who are looking to create a differentiated voice offering and increase customer satisfaction.