BBB Warns Seniors of Various Scams

March 2, 2012 Updated Mar 2, 2012 at 3:34 PM EDT

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BBB Warns Seniors of Various Scams

March 2, 2012 Updated Mar 2, 2012 at 3:34 PM EDT

(BBB news release) Senior citizens continue to be a large target for scammers. As a result, the Better Business Bureau is providing education and outreach to help prevent this kind of fraud.

According to a news release, a June 2010 survey by Investor Protection Trust showed that roughly 20 percent of Americans aged 65 or older has been taken advantage of financially. Most commonly, seniors are shown to be affected by inappropriate investments, unreasonably high fees for financial services, or outright fraud.

Deceptive Sales: Individuals will go door-to-door on behalf of their business and try to cause a sense of urgency. The business will lie about safety issues or the extent of the problem, hoping to inflate the prices for their services. Some of the service providers may include furnace repairmen, contractors, air duct cleaners, or door-to-door salespeople.

Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams: The sweepstakes scam normally occurs when a victim receives a letter in the mail that he or she has won a lottery or sweepstakes. The letter will tell the person to deposit an enclosed check and then wire a portion back to the company to cover taxes or administration fees. Sometimes the scammers will also say that a taxi will come pick you up to help you claim your money. Fleming advises that if you haven't entered into something, you're never going to win.

Grandparents Scams: This scam includes a telephone call from someone claiming to be a relative stuck in a foreign country, needing money to get home. Often the caller claims to be a relative serving in the military who needs money for medical needs. BBB advises that seniors should ask the caller for their name or other information that would be only known to a relative.

Medicare Scams: Medicare scams are easily accomplished because of the ambiguous nature of the system. Scammers claim to be with Medicare and ask for personal information. A victim may be given numerous excuses to provide information such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security or bank account numbers.