Katie Galan

Katie Galan

Grandparents Day was celebrated Sept. 13 this year. As you spent the day appreciating the grandparents in your life, it is important that we take time to remember how to keep them safe.

Scammers often target older adults, as they have financial savings, better credit and spend more time at home. Some scams are more likely to target seniors than others. For example, emergency scams, also called the grandparent scam, involve scammers posing as grandchildren needing money to get out of a dire situation.

Adults 65 and older are more likely to lose money to sweepstakes scams as well. They receive calls or letters claiming they’ve won the lottery or sweepstakes, but they need to pay fees or taxes to claim the prize. Tech support scams also target seniors who may not be familiar with their computers. Scammers, posing as tech support professionals, call or send a pop up saying there is a problem with the computer, but they can fix the problem for a fee.

COVID-19 has also provided additional opportunities for older adults to fall victim to fraud.

Scammers take advantage of the fear senior citizens may be feeling during the pandemic.

They claim to have miracle cures or government funds to give.

While there are several different scams that take advantage of seniors, there are precautions you can take to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from fraud. Use these tips from your Better Business Bureau to avoid falling victim to scams:

  • Research before acting. Whether a grandchild calls for help or you’ve received a prize notification, step back before sending money. You can call relatives, customer support or the lottery company to check the facts. Scammers often use high-pressure tactics to push targets to act quickly, so refrain from immediate action, no matter how drastic the story may be.
  • Ignore unsolicited calls. If you don’t recognize a phone number, let it go to voicemail. A legitimate caller will leave a message if they need to get in touch with you. You should also be alert to caller ID. Caller ID can be spoofed, so if you’re receiving an unusual call from a number that seems legitimate, hang up.
  • Don’t send money to strangers. Never send money, especially over wire transfer or gift cards, to someone you don’t know personally. Scammers may call posing as government employees, tech support or lottery companies to ask you for money.

Refrain from paying, especially if you are being threatened. If a grandchild calls to ask for money, be sure that’s who you are talking to. Ask specific questions and follow up with their parents or other relatives if you are still unsure.

Katie Galan is the regional driector for BBB serving the Heart of Texas. She can be reached at 844-222-4968, Ext. orkgalan@corpuschristi.bbb.org.

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