As the holiday season approaches, it is important to be on the lookout for identity theft and financial scams. Those most likely to be targeted are those who are age 50 and older. This demographic is believed to be the most vulnerable and an easy target for a number of reasons including their potential to have a large retirement savings, and an established credit history. The use of the internet and email have made accounts and personal information even more accessible to scammers.
There are many common scams and many are done through email because it can help a scammer mask his or her identity. A scammer can access personal information through social networks and use that information to seemingly legitimize email correspondence. One popular scam is known as the “grandparent scam.” This is when a scammer pretends to be grandchild in a dire situation and is in need of money, but doesn’t want his or her parents finding out. This scam works because it gets the grandparent emotionally excited and it appeals to them because they want to help out their grandchild. Some examples of other frauds include magazine subscriptions, sweepstakes, health insurance, Medicare discount-drug cards, and charity emails.
Charity email scams are very popular around the holiday season. This is when mass emails are sent out asking for donations to legitimate charities and charitable organizations. The emails usually have a link to click on to make a contribution. The link opens to a page asking for your account number and other personal information. In reality, the person is not providing his or her information to the charity- the information is going straight to a scammer.
It is very important to be aware of these scams and how they operate so you can protect yourself and loved ones from being victimized. Those taking care of elderly parents and grandparents that suffer from Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other disease that affect one’s cognitive state should also be aware of these scams and make efforts to check account statements frequently.
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