The Detroit Free Press reported about a local workshop to help seniors stay alert about a variety of fraud schemes run by scam artists:
"Michigan AARP says, based on a recent survey, that 79% of its members are concerned about fraud... Seniors are losing $2.9 billion a year nationwide to financial abuse..."
Seniors are vulnerable, since many live on a fixed income and seek ways to to increase their income due to financial pressures and fears. Scam artists use these fears.
FBI agents spoke to seniors at the Fraud Fighter College workshop at Marygrove College. Linda Cena, a securities manager at the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation also spoke. Cena advises seniors to call her office to verify brokers and investments before investing large sums of money. Residents in other states can often find identity theft and scam resources in the division of insurance, secretary of state, or attorney general offices in their state government.
Typical scams targeting seniors include:
"... con artists promising a shopping spree in return for a small processing charge on a debit card to crooked financial advisers talking someone into shifting retirement money from a 401(k) plan into a self-directed IRA, and then putting that money into some fraudulent movie scheme. And, yes, a grandson or granddaughter on drugs can become a predator, too."
Experts warn seniors, and their caregivers, that the best defense against identity theft and fraud is to not disclose personal and financial information -- especially over the phone. Another tip: don't leave papers with sensitive information lying on tables around the home where visitors can steal valuable data like Social Security numbers.