Unfortunately, many of the most effective scams are those which target older adults, according to experts.
“All too often, we hear of elder financial abuse cases where bad actors manipulate unsuspecting older adults out of their savings and possessions,” says Lauree Peterson-Sakai, strategy leader for Wells Fargo Aging Client Services.
Imposter scams use a variety of tricks to gain a person’s trust and steal their sensitive information, but they often start with a simple call, email or message impersonating a person or company they know to trick them into giving away their money. To thwart fraudsters, consider these five tips.
1. Beware of callers. Don’t pick up calls from unknown numbers. The IRS and other government or financial institutions rarely make outbound calls and never ask you to provide personal information.
2. Don’t be ghosted by a money mule scam. Avoid helping strangers with cashing checks, delivering packages or receiving goods.
3. Beware of calls from anyone claiming to be your grandchild in urgent need of money. Hang up immediately to avoid falling for this common trick.
4. Speak to another family member or trusted person in your life before lending large sums of money to family members or new acquaintances.
5. Bad actors are everywhere today, including in internet searches, emails and texts. Don’t be tempted to click on something that could hurt you or expose your personal information and log-in credentials.
“The best things you can do for yourself are know how to recognize potential scams and keep an open dialogue with your family and loved ones. Encourage each other to share if something sounds suspect,” says Peterson-Sakai. “What we’ve found to be really protective against scams is running a situation by someone you trust before making a decision that could impact you financially.”
For a guide to identifying and preventing elder abuse, visit wellsfargoadvisors.com.
To protect yourself and those you love, learn the most common tricks and scams, and when contacted by someone you don’t know, always proceed with caution.
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