September 25, 2016

How the Elderly Are Preyed Upon

No this not about diabetes, but is about the scams and schemes that many of the elderly fall victim to almost on a daily basis.

Some of the scams include:
  1. People calling saying they are from the IRS and that you owe money
  2. People calling from Microsoft telling you that something is wrong with your computer
  3. People calling you claiming they are a member of your family and they have gotten into trouble and please wire them money
  4. People calling you saying they represent a charity doing great things for people in (supply the city or area of the disaster) and could you contribute money to help them.
These are just some of the scams being used to separate the elderly from their money. I have had all of the above, except number 3 tried on me, but I did not fall of any of them. Number one above goes like this – This is (name) from the IRS and we would like to get paid for (dollar amount) that you owe in back taxes for year (one of last three years). If you could go to your bank and have them put ($300 to $1,500 and it is seldom in an even hundred amount) on a debit card and when you arrive back home, please call (gives you a telephone number) and then read off the number to me, then we can mark your account paid in full.

If you do this, your debit card will be wiped clean and you will be out this money and nothing will change except in a few months or the following year, you will receive another call for another amount with the same instructions.

Never fall for this scam as the IRS does not call and they only send out a bill if you owe money. They will include the explanation of how they arrived at the amount and even suggest that if you had your taxes prepared have them check the amount and then mail the money in the form of a check and a copy of the bill they sent you with the check. They can also file in court for you to appear to be charged with tax evasion, but you will never receive a call unless you have been received an audit notice and have been in contact by telephone with the auditor.

Number 2 above has been attempted by different callers many times to the point that I just automatically tell them they are a scam and hang up on them. They say they are from Microsoft and your computer has notified them of a problem. They want you to go to your computer and then they will tell you to find the Internet service number assigned to your computer so that they can access your computer to make a change or repair some code to correct the problem on your computer.

Never let them do this. Microsoft does not call you and will send out a representative if there is a real problem. In addition, they know the number to reach your computer and can send out a repair for you to download and install if you have a problem.

Number three above is not one I have had tried on me as I know my relatives and would never send money as I would tell them to contact their parent if they were a relative.

Number four is another common scam and the elderly often fall victims to these people. Every time there is a disaster, such as the flooding in Louisiana or in Texas, these people start calling and saying they represent a charity and they are counting on you to give an amount to bring them closer to their goal for the disaster area. Chances are the charity does not exist and the money goes into the caller's pocket.

Now there are legal charities and they will operate through a bank and you are free to call the bank to see if the charity exists and if the account number is correct for the bank. Also, there is the Red Cross and they can be called and if you wish to give to them, the amount of your give will be designated for the disaster area.

Be careful as scams and schemes get more clever each year. I make is a policy to never give money over the telephone and even more careful when people show up at the door. If they provide the proper identification and will wait while I call the police department, I might give a small amount. Even then, I have had people leave when they heard me call to police department and start asking questions.

No comments: