Posted: 6/11/2015

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Senior Citizens often fall victim to fraud and financial abuse. Con artist prey on seniors because they are most likely to have assets, good credit, and savings that the make them attractive to scammers. Putting trust in the wrong individual or offer can have harmful effects and can drain the elderly of their finances. To make matters worse, many times seniors are reluctant to report fraud or scams because they don’t know where to turn or they fear others will find out and think them to be less capable of handing their affairs. There are steps we all can take to protecting ourselves against fraud and schemes, especially those up in age. Business Consumer Alliance (“BCA”) lists some helpful tips to prevent falling into some financial traps.

Senior Citizens often fall victim to fraud and financial abuse. Con artist prey on seniors because they are most likely to have assets, good credit, and savings that the make them attractive to scammers. Putting trust in the wrong individual or offer can have harmful effects and can drain the elderly of their finances. To make matters worse, many times seniors are reluctant to report fraud or scams because they don’t know where to turn or they fear others will find out and think them to be less capable of handing their affairs. There are steps we all can take to protecting ourselves against fraud and schemes, especially those up in age. Business Consumer Alliance (“BCA”) lists some helpful tips to prevent falling into some financial traps.

  • Never give out financial information such as bank account, credit card, social security or Medicare numbers to someone you do not know. Even if they claim to be contacting you to verify information, don’t provide any information unless you have checked them out on your own.
     
  • Medicare and Social Security do not cold-call beneficiaries or make house calls. If someone calls you and says they are from Medicare or Social Security, hang up. Do not give them any information.
     
  • Don’t give in to high pressure sales tactics aimed to get you to buy something or agree to a contract immediately and making purchases from an unfamiliar company. Always check with BCA first either online or by calling our Customer Service Department at (909) 825-7280 for a company reliability report.
     
  • Before making any important financial decisions, make sure you fully understand the purpose and effect of the product you intend to purchase. Ask a trusted family member or acquaintance to review the information with you or seek the guidance of a financial professional.
     
  • When making a purchase, be sure to get everything in writing and require copies of all documentation. Beware that not all businesses deliver on their promises. That is why it is always good practice to investigate the company and their customer experience.
     
  • If you engage in social network sites, like Facebook, avoid publishing personal information like your address or phone number on the site(s). Also, it is advisable to avoid posting when you are out of town or away from home.
     
  • Never allow strangers into your home without a trusted person, such as a family member or friend, present.
     
  • Avoid responding to random email messages asking you to verify account information. Instead delete the e-mail. Never respond to an offer you don’t understand thoroughly.
     
  • It’s advisable to never wire money or use a prepaid reload pack to send money to someone. Scammers often use these methods because it is difficult to trace and you’re more than likely unable to get the money back.

If you have been victimized or know of anyone that has report it. Contact your local, state or federal law enforcement and file a complaint with BCA. Share these tips with your loved ones. If you have suggestions to include, comment below. We’d love to hear from you.

About Business Consumer Alliance:

Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) is a non-profit company that started in 1936. The broad purpose of BCA is to promote business self-regulation. BCA's mission is achieved by assisting consumers in resolving complaints with businesses and using that complaint information, along with other relevant information such as customer reviews, to forecast business reliability. With community support, BCA can identify trustworthy and ethical businesses and warn the public to avoid unscrupulous businesses whose purpose is to defraud the marketplace. BCA also helps businesses promote themselves by providing services and tools to protect their business and reach out to their customers. BCA obtains its funding from member businesses who support the mission and purpose of the organization and who agree to abide by high standards of ethical business practices.

Tags: seniors, safety

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What is this program?

The Consumer Ally program is free for consumers to join. At BCA, we feel it's very important to educate the public on trends like scams, new laws and providing helpful tips to empower the public in making wise purchasing decisions. This program is an elite community of consumers who share our vision for a safe marketplace. We can't be everywhere at once so we depend on feedback from the public to help our efforts.

  • Free subscription to our e-newsletter
  • Free scam alerts
  • Eligible to win random prizes. We like to run contests exclusively for Consumer Ally members