Every one can be scammed if not well prepared. Older adults have always been a soft target for scammers and there is nothing new about that. However, with COVID-19 pandemic , this has increased more with large number of identity theft and other scams involving seniors has come into picture. A report says that FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has received more than 2,00,000 complaints about Corona Virus related fraud. People of all age are targeted but seniors are more prone to falling for it as they trust people easily and are very honest.
With all these confusion and emotions that came with the deadly virus, scammers also became ready to swindle these kind people of their money and safety making seniors the victim of these malicious frauds. It’s sad that at this time when entire world is fighting a deadly virus and trying to survive, there are people who are onto doing such things. Additionally, In this age of social media it has become very easy to spread false information. COVID-19 being a new virus, it took time for the global personalities to come up with answers about it. Meanwhile that time was well utilised by scammers to spread rumours and false knowledge about the virus, it’s origin, its cure and many more. Let’s look at some of the scams that are doing rounds.
Fake Covid 19 prevention kits : There has been fake telemarketing campaigns where scammers will call and promise of delivering Covid 19 masks and sanitisers and charge handsome amount for it. At the end, the product never gets delivered and no one’s returns the calls.
Fake Testing : Lot of scam agencies took advantage of vulnerable people by promising them a proper testing and later cure of Novel Coronavirus. It has been difficult to access the testing of coronavirus for everyone at once and scammers have taken full notice of that. They designed a system via which they target seniors and trick them into revealing sensitive information including bank account details.
Fraudulent vaccine and cure for COVID -19 : When people are scared and vulnerable, it is easy for them to fell into different scams. Scammers would ask for a hefty payment in exchange of a early vaccine delivery which eventually would never come. Before it became public that there are only two government vaccines for COVID-19 will be available in the country, Scammers made money with spreading false information about different cures for the virus and lot of innocent people also fell for it ultimately loosing their money & classified information. Therefore it is always the right way to contact the government health department for correct information. Seniors can avoid these issue by always cross checking these information with official government channels and websites.
Sanitising of homes : This is a kind of scam that is going around where these people target older adults and either go around houses with their fake kits and promise of decontamination of the houses by charging exorbitant prices or schedule it over calls.
False Charity : Several agencies impersonating charity for COVID-19 relief have come up to prey on good natured seniors and extract money from them in the name of providing care to covid affected families and individuals.
These kind of scenarios can be avoided by taking simple measures like verifying the organisation’s website, their previous work and calling to their office and asking about their authenticity and different ventures of the past.
Impersonating People from the Government : Lot of cases have come up where scammers impersonate people from government & ask the seniors their confidential information like insurance and Medicare details and give them a fake scare of discontinued benefits for COVID-19 if not provided.
In this case, Seniors can avoid being scammed by checking the official government ID of the impersonator, they can also call to the government office and check whether this kind of process is going on or not.
Fake medical personnel scam : Fraudsters claim that they belong to some medical institution or are doctors and have cured somebody with Covid 19. They then ask for money to ‘treat’ them too.
Social security call back scam : Another scam to extract your personal information and social security number is this scam. Scam call is received where they say that due to fraudulent activity your social security with be suspended and in order to have it reinstated, you need to call them back on the number given by them.
Whenever a senior has fallen prey to these kind of scam, they should immediately file a complaint with FCC and contact the law enforcement authorities. All the information should be shared with pure honesty which will help the concerned authorities to provide support and ensure minimal damage. There is nothing to be embarrassed about and rather all the measures should be taken immediately to reduce loss.
Som of the ways through with seniors can prevent themselves from getting scammed are.
- One should always refer to the authentication source form information when in need of any, World Health Organisation being one of the most reliable ones. Please remember that official sources are always the best source of information than any social media site.
- Keep your phones and laptops up to dated with latest updates since technology helps in many ways. The latest updates can help you in blocking the malware.
- Also, never answer text messages or calls from unreliable numbers. There would be calls regarding sharing your personal information via calls or texts or emails and pressure you into making immediate payments, these are the alarming signs of a fraud, so be vigilant on that as well.
- Never click on any links from a suspicious email or text message. They always takes you towards a scam.
- Your money is most safe and well secured in your bank so never worry about it.
- Please note that the government would never ask you to pay anything upfront to provide you benefit. Also, they would never ask you to share your confidential information like bank account or credit card.
- Always cross verify before making any Payment or doing any investment.
- Always be connected with other members of the family and keep them up to dated about any such activity that is happening around you, they might be more aware about it and save you from falling into it
- Block all the spam robo calls to avoid the random scam calls
Be aware and stay safe!