August 18, 2020
Kellie M. Spawton
Tips to Help Older Individuals Stay Protected from Some Common Scams
Each year, millions of older Americans fall prey to various types of financial fraud, costing victims nearly $3 billion last year. Scammers target older individuals because they may be lonely and more trusting, they may be less inclined to report fraud because they’re unsure of proper steps to take, or they may feel ashamed of being scammed and afraid to lose their independence.
In preparation of National Senior Citizens Day on Friday, August 21, OceanFirst Bank is providing tips on how to stay protected from common scams designed to exploit seniors.
Family/caregiver scam – Relatives or acquaintances take advantage of an older person by stealing his/her money or identity. An example would be a family member or caregiver misleading the elder into assigning them as Power of Attorney on an account.
Imposter scam – A criminal poses as a grandchild, or trusted entity (like law enforcement, technical support, or a government agent), or a new friend on social media claiming to be in immediate financial need. Some scenarios may include: Receiving a call or email demanding financial help right away because a family member has been in an accident, arrested, or robbed; receiving a call from “Social Security” demanding funds to resolve a problem or risk having benefits cut off; “friends” on social media sites requesting money or offering investment opportunities, or any other urgent situations requiring immediate payment.
Sweepstakes/lottery/charity scam – Fraudsters claim that the potential victim has won a lottery or sweepstakes, which they can collect for a “fee.” Charity scams involve scammers impersonating someone from a charitable organization and asking the potential victim to donate to that charity. The donation is redirected to the scammer.
Tips to stay protected:
Resist the pressure to act quickly – Scammers will create a sense of urgency to create fear and prompt victims to take immediate action.
Protect your assets – Build a relationship with a personal banker at your financial institution, as they can look out for any suspicious activity related to your account.
Be cautious – Never give out your personal information such as Social Security Number, account number or other financial information.
Rely on people you trust – Before you make any significant financial decision, talk it through with your most trusted family member or close friend to get sound advice.
If you fear you are being or have already been scammed, please call our Customer Care Center at 888-623-2633, option 3, and we will take steps to help you protect your account and information.