The 5 Most Common Scams and Frauds of 2018 That Seniors Should Know About
There are so many scams going on these days that it’s tough to figure out what’s real and who’s just out to get your money or personal information. Scams seem to be more sophisticated than ever! We did some research to sort out the most common scams and frauds of 2018.
Please take a few minutes to become familiar with these scams so that you don’t fall for them! Additionally, never give out your personal information over the internet or over the phone.
Equifax Data Breach
In 2017, Equifax experienced a data breach where 143 million of its customers were affected. The hackers got access to Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers.
Unfortunately, that data breach is still big news, and many individuals are just now finding out that they’ve been affected. You can quickly find out if you were affected by this breach by going to Equifax’s website.
If you notice anything strange on your credit report, report it immediately to the credit reporting company.
Banking scams come in all shapes and sizes, and you’re bound to experience at least one in your lifetime. The goal of these scams is to get access to your bank account.
The scammer might try a number of things, including:
- A phone call where the caller explains your bank account has been compromised, and they just need you to confirm your account number to double check
- A text saying your bank account has been overdrawn with a link that takes you a website where you input your account number
- A company sets up an automatic debit from your bank account as part of a free trial or to collect lottery winnings
- An email message that asks you to verify your bank account or debit card number
- A check is sent to you, but if you cash it, you might be authorizing the purchase of items or you may be signing up for a loan you didn’t want
Report any fake checks you receive in the mail to the US Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Trade Commission (1-877-382-4357).
If you’re not sure whether a phone call, text, or email is real or fake, call your bank and ask! And never click any links in a text or an email that ask you to verify your bank account information.
IRS Imposter Scams
In the all-too-famous IRS Imposter Scams, someone calls you and pretends that they work for the IRS. They tell you that you owe taxes, and if you don’t pay them, you could be arrested.
This is completely fake! The IRS would never call you out of the blue. You would recieve a notice in the mail before you’d ever get a phone call about unpaid taxes.
If you’re concerned that the phone call is real, ask the caller to provide their name, badge number, and callback number. Then, call TIGTA at 1-800-366-4484 to verify that the caller is a real IRS employee.
Always be suspicious of any calls asking you to pay money over the phone or on the spot.
New Medicare Card Scams
While the new Medicare cards were created to eliminate your Social Security number and replace it with a new Medicare number – which is going to protect your identity – scammers see this as an opportunity.
Scammers will call you and try to get your personal information claiming it has to do with your new Medicare card.
Medicare will never call you and ask for your personal information in order to send your new Medicare card. It will come in the mail automatically. Anyone that calls and asks for information, money, or threatens to cancel your health benefits is a scammer and should be ignored and reported to Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.
Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams
While many reputable companies out there do legitimate sweepstakes, there are more scammers than not.
These scammers hold fake lotteries, sweepstakes, and contests in exchange for your personal information or even money!
They claim that you’ve won a prize, but you only need to pay a small fee to collect it.
If you want to enter a sweepstakes, make sure it’s being held by a company you trust. Beware of any lotteries or sweepstakes that show up on your computer via a pop-up.
These prize scammers might also try to reach you via postal mail, email, the phone, or text message. While the prize can seem awesome, pinch yourself and be reminded that it’s likely a scam!You can report these types of scams to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-382-4357.
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