AARP Eye Center
A door-to-door scam targeting seniors has resurfaced and it's focused on Florida (although it could move on to other states). Please share this information with any friends and family in the Sunshine State!
The scam: Seniors in Boca Raton, Boynton Beach and Delray Beach are getting phone calls from scammers claiming to be from their financial institution. (Miami Herald story from January) The scammer asks the senior if she has used her card at some location for some amount (bogus), to which she answers no. The scammer then says the card has been compromised and it will need to be canceled. Scammer then goes onto say the bank has a “senior service center” and they will send someone to the home to pick up the card and retrieve the PIN. And sure enough, the senior gets a knock on the door and they hand the card and PIN info over. Then the scammer racks up debt on the credit card or drains the debit at ATMs. NOTE: Financial institutions see transactions like these as “authorized user” transactions. Unless they want to be the good guys and make the victim whole, the victim doesn’t recover the loss.
How they get the info for the scam: The scammer probably has a long list of names and SSNs from breaches. They pick a big bank and call pretending to be a customer and provide a name and SSN from their list. If the bank says you don’t have an account, the scammers feigns confusion and calls the next bank on the list until they find a hit. Once they have the hit, they then call the person on their list and pretend to be from the bank they matched the person up with, claiming to be that bank.
How to spot this scam: Financial institutions don’t have “senior service centers” and don’t send bank employees to people’s home to retrieve cards and PINs if an account has been compromised.
What to do if you’ve been victimized: This scam is especially dangerous because the criminal has direct access to the victims bank account. Seniors who fall victim to this scam should contact the AARP Helpline at 877-908-3360 for help on reporting the crime and protecting themselves.