As seniors, we all need to be aware that the world is vastly different from when we grew up.
There are so many more people who look for unsuspecting people to scam. The days of knowing your neighbors, leaving your door unlocked and trusting everyone are sadly gone.
Here are some scams to watch out for:
1. Charity scams: The caller is usually a friendly sort who tells a sad story about funding for this or that. I always say that I will give locally and then hang up. Seniors remember when they had tough times, and so they are vulnerable to this type of scam. Take your emotions out of the conversation.
2. Investment scams: You and your spouse worked long and hard all your lives. You’ve saved a little for retirement. Then you get an email promising you huge returns on a new investment. Ignore this email! Do not give out any of your personal information. Be very careful who handles your money. Check with friends; do investigating on your own.
3. Help scams: You get a call from someone who says he is your grandchild and has been in an accident or is in jail, etc. The fake grandchild begs you to send money to help him out of the problem. We as grandparents panic and want to help. Stop and think. Ask questions that only a real grandchild would know the answer to. If you feel uneasy, hang up and call another family member who could verify if the problem is real. This is a particularly cruel scam.
4. Check scams: Some prince in some foreign country needs to get his money out of his country. He emails you and says he is going to send you a check to cash for him. You are then instructed to send him the check amount less a sum for you to keep for your trouble. You, as a good American, do this and in a couple of weeks your bank notifies you that the check is fraudulent. Guess who is stuck with making the check good? You!
5. Funeral scams: Some con artists read the obituaries and then call the grieving widow or widower and claim that the deceased owes them a large sum of money. If you do not know the person, hang up.
These are just a few of the scams that are perpetrated on seniors. Always be suspicious and do not make any rash decisions. Also never let anyone play on your emotions or make you feel guilty.
The writer is the executive director of the Senior Center of Sidney-Shelby County.