Unfortunately, there are many different kinds of scammers around trying to take people’s money, and seniors are often their main target. Scammers tend to target seniors because many of them have access to larger sums of money, and they think they can trick them into providing them with their personal information.
In addition, seniors tend to not be as techno-savvy as the younger generation, which make the Internet a hotbed for scammers. Below is some useful information about the types of scams that target seniors, as well as, some useful tips on how to avoid these scams.
Types of Scams
Scammers try all different means to try to steal information from seniors or to get them to agree to make a fraudulent purchase. While there are literally dozens of different scams out there, below we look at the most common types of scams that target seniors.
- Carbon Tax Compensation. These scammers contact seniors by telephone and pretend to be calling from the Australian government. They offer several carbon tax initiatives and benefit options to the senior, claiming all they need is their bank account information. If you get a call like this, you can be 100 per cent certain that it is a scam because the government never calls people in reference to the carbon tax credit. People must apply for these carbon tax savings on their own.
- Charity Scams. One of the most popular scams involves contacting seniors to donate to a bogus charity. Before donating to any charity, check with the consumer protection agency in your local area to ensure the organization is legitimate.
- Investment Scams. These get-rich-quick schemes should always raise a red flag for seniors. Be leery of anything that sounds too good to be true. Nobody should be providing you with investment advice unless they are licensed. You can check the standing of anyone offering financial or investment services by checking the ASIC Connect’s Professional Register.
- Lottery Scams. A popular scam targeting seniors is an email claiming that you won the lottery. This scam asks you to provide your bank information to deposit the funds into. This is almost always a trap to obtain your personal information. If you think it may be legitimate, you should first seek advice from a legal or financial expert.
- Money Transfer Scams. Money transfer scams request that you transfer a large sum of money to the other person and then they promise to return more money to you. This is a scam and you should never transfer money to someone you do not know.
- Superannuation Scams. This is another popular scam that target seniors, as the scammer promise to transfer your money to a self-managed account. This kind of accounts could have high account-keeping fees and cause you to face tax penalties or a higher tax rate.
How to Protect Yourself Against Scams
There are several step you can take to protect yourself against these scammers and secure your personal information.
- Stop Telemarketers. You want to make sure you have your number placed on the Do Not Call Register. This will reduce the number of telemarketers calling your phone and reduce the risk of being scammed.
- Do Not Give Information. Another thing to remember is that you should never give your personal information, including banking information to anyone over the phone. Remember that your bank will never ask for this information over the phone. Anyone asking for this type of information could be trying to scam you.
- Verify Legitimacy. Always take the necessary steps to verify the legitimacy of any charity your donate to or business you work with.
- Seek Professional Advice. When in doubt, you should always seek advice from an attorney or a financial counselor. They will be able to help you determine what options or legitimate and which are fraudulent..
The governmental website SCAMwatch provides useful information on how to protect yourself from scammers. You should always question any deals offer over the phone, through the mail or by an email unless you requested the information.
Ask a lot of questions, do your research and find out the name, phone number, and address of any business or organization your work with.
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