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  Scamming Seniors

Jun 23, 2014 14:46 ET

This week, as we continue our Senior’s Month coverage, we would like to provide you with information about some common scams targeted at seniors, and how you can protect yourself. These scams tend to fall into four categories: Health and Medical, Emergency, Internet, and Door-to-Door scams.

With Health Scams, the scammers will try to trick you by offering quick and easy, miraculous solutions for serious medical conditions. You should also watch out for any miracle diet pills, which offer rapid weight loss, in a short period of time. Remember, there is no magical option for serious medical conditions or weight loss.

Emergency Scams usually target grandparents and use emotional situations to rob seniors of their money. Scammers will typically call the home of the senior and pretend to be either a grandchild, a lawyer or a police officer. The scammer will then try ask the senior send them money immediately. You should always verify the identity of the caller and never send money to someone you don’t know.

Internet scammers will use spam, malware and phishing to try to gain access to your personal information. Remember it’s always better to delete unsolicited and unknown emails then to answer them, as it confirms the scammer has reached a real email address. Scammers may also us dating websites and appeal to your romantic, lonely or compassionate side. Always use caution when using a dating site and remember that someone who is genuinely interested in you won’t ask for money.

Door-to-Door Scams are probably the scams seniors most often fall prey to. If a repairman shows up to your house uninvited, say something is broken and they can fix it for cheap, chances are it’s a scam. A common scam of this type is the Paving Scam, where a salesperson will come around to your house and tell you they are paving most of the driveways on the street and for a cash deposit right now, they will include you as well. They will refuse to sign a contract, take your money and leave. Chances are you’ll never see them again. Same if you’re ever pressured into making a large purchase by a door-to-door salesperson. In Ontario, you can cancel a contract for more than $50 within 10 days if it’s signed within your own home, so ask for the mailing address, email or fax number of the company you are being pressured to buy from. Remember that no one has the right to pressure you into buying anything, and anything that sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

For more information we recommend you check out The Little Black Book of Scams

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