There have been numerous articles and newscasts about various scams that target the elderly. Recently a friend witnessed firsthand how real this threat can be.
My friend was in a local retail store in line behind an elderly lady buying a large amount of gift cards. The cashier politely inquired as to why she was buying so many of these cards. She replied that she had to, or she would be under arrest and her Social Security payments would be garnished. This lady did not know that she had become the victim of a scam. Thankfully, the store personal intervened and assisted her in contacting the police and her bank. My friend literally left the store in tears from thinking how this sweet, scared lady had possibly lost her life savings.
Please, please talk to your elderly parents and neighbors, or anyone that may be at risk with these scams. This threat is real, and it happens every day no matter where you live. You may think most people know when they are being scammed, but that is not always the case. These scammers are very convincing and know how to prey upon a vulnerable person. It can happen to anyone, and once it happens it can be difficult to recover that money.
Here are steps take if you have been a scammed:
- Call the police and file a report which may help you recoup your losses. It will also help them investigate and warn others of the potential scam.
- Call your financial institution, and they can direct you to the next course of action.
- Call the credit bureaus and put a freeze on your credit. This will keep scammers from starting new credit or getting a credit increase in your name.
- Tell someone you trust so they can help you with all the above.
This can happen to anyone at any time, and the important thing is to tell someone and act immediately. Please take this seriously and question anytime someone tells you over the phone that you owe them money. They can take your entire life savings and not think twice about it.