It has only been a few columns since I addressed the risk seniors face from scams. However, recent information emphasizes just how important it is to address this issue often. Within the last three weeks, both local and national news have run stories stressing the importance for seniors, and their families, to remain vigilant against scams.
According to ABC news, the Federal Trade Commission (the federal agency charged with consumer protection) reports that complaints of “imposter” scams have now surpassed identify theft in prevalence.
I have warned previously of one type of imposter scam, commonly called the “grandparent scam.” Local News 8 recently broadcast a story about this scam.
According to the FBI, a scammer will obtain a few details about the grandparent and/or a grandchild, perhaps from social media, and then call the grandparent claiming to be a distressed grandchild in need. When I discuss this scam in my presentations, I always see the heads nodding of people who have been called by these scammers. Yet, the scam remains incredibly effective.
As concerning as this scam is, I am also concerned about another imposter scam that seems to be growing in frequency. This scam involves a caller claiming to be a government representative, perhaps an IRS agent or even a police officer. The caller is aggressive, demanding money rather than asking for it. Callers are told someone is on their way to arrest them if they don’t pay immediately.
I have received several calls from distraught clients telling me about the call and asking if they should just pay. The answer is absolutely not! As I have explained in previous columns, this will only open the doors to more demands, threats and intimidation.
The government does not use such methods to obtain payments. Even if money is legitimately due, you will have the opportunity to confirm the amount and the reason money is owed.
Protect your loved ones from these insidious scams. Come to a free presentation to find out how.
© 2017 Steven J Wright