The scam crisis level has become so widespread in the United States that the Federal trade Commission has issued a warning to seniors and their loved ones. Unfortunately, retirees are often targeted because scammers view them as vulnerable and potentially easier to deceive. Also, retirees may have more savings and assets that scammers try to exploit through various fraudulent schemes. According to the Federal Trade Commission’s most recent databook, people lost $8.8 billion to scams.
This is a $2.6 billion increase over 2021. Except that the number of reports has decreased by half a million (2022:2.4 million reports. 2021: 2.9 million reports). Scams can take many forms, including phone scams, email phishing scams, investment scams, and more. Some scammers may pose as government officials, representatives from legitimate organizations, offering too-good-to-be-true deals or investments, or even family members in an attempt to gain trust and manipulate victims into giving them money or personal information.
Being cautious about sharing personal information is one of the most important things retirees and their families can do to protect themselves from scams. This includes being careful about sharing information like social security numbers, bank account numbers, and other sensitive information. Verifying the legitimacy of any requests for money or information, such as by independently contacting the organization or agency in question, can help retirees avoid falling victim to these tactics.
If retirees or their families do suspect that they have been targeted by a scammer, it’s important to report the activity to law enforcement or appropriate authorities as soon as possible. This can help prevent others from being victimized and may also increase the chances of recovering any lost money or assets.
Overall, taking steps to protect oneself from scams is an important part of financial and personal security, particularly for retirees who may be targeted by scammers more frequently. There are also resources available to help retirees and their families identify and avoid scams. For example, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers information and resources on its website, and there are organizations that specialize in helping seniors protect themselves from scams, such as AARP’s Fraud Watch Network.