The start of a new year often means creating resolutions. Why not make your resolution to stay scam free this year? While scams can take various forms, there are often “red flags” that are common to many scams. Recognizing red flags will help you avoid new and old scams alike. The following are some common red flags that are indicative of many current scams out there today:
Scammers follow the news and different trends, but can you believe they even follow the weather too?! When temperatures rise or fall scammers take advantage of heating and cooling needs of consumers. Utility scammers commonly pose as someone who works for your gas, water or electric company. These scams can be very tricky because they often know your name, address and the correct name of your utility provider. They also work to convince you they hold important resources like your heat and water in their hands.
People of all ages now use text messages to communicate, often even more so than talking on the phone or via email. Scammers have noted this trend and now use text messaging to contact potential victims. As the use of smart phones and text messaging grows, it is critical that cell phone users are extra vigilant about potential scams that could come to their phone via text. The following are a few tips for avoiding potential text message scams:
Fake government grant offers have become more prevalent during the Coronavirus global pandemic. Even though collecting cash sounds nice, anytime you receive an offer for “free money” that seems “too good to be true” you should go with your instinct and ignore it. Fake grant offers are scams designed to steal your money and personal information. Here are some tips to avoid government grant scams:
During difficult financial times it is helpful to know about potential ways to save money as well as collect funds that might be owed to you. Two resources that many older Coloradans might not be familiar with, but should be, are Colorado’s PTC-104 rebate and retrieving unclaimed property/funds in your name.
Scammers follow the news. They have noticed that as a result of the pandemic many Americans have lost their job and had to file for unemployment insurance. Because of this trend scammers have been using the personal information of millions of Americans to fraudulently file for unemployment benefits in their name. Thousands of retired Coloradans have been notified that benefits have been filed for in their name, despite not having worked in many years. If you received this notification, don’t panic! Follow a few important steps:
Have you received a phone call offering you an updated Medicare card, a back brace or knee brace? Or have you received an offer for a free DNA test kit? It is not uncommon for Medicare beneficiaries to receive these types of fraudulent solicitations. Any medical equipment or test paid for my Medicare must be ordered by your physician. If you receive one of these solicitations here a few tips to keep in mind:
It’s a fact of life…one day, we’ll all die. Before that happens, you have time to help your loved ones avoid hardship by planning for life without you. Make sure you have your finances in order before it’s too late. Need assistance? AARP ElderWatch can help by pairing you up with a financial counselor. Read below for a breakdown of legal documents you need when planning for the end of life.
Scammers and criminals don’t take a break during the holidays, in fact they might get busier. An ElderWatch survey of Coloradans 50+ found a lack of knowledge about some holiday-related scams. Be vigilant this holiday season and take extra precautions to ensure your hard-earned money does not end up in the hands of scammers: