The holiday season is a time of celebration, gift-giving, and charitable contributions. Unfortunately, thieves see this as an opportunity to take advantage of consumers. Each year, new scams are created targeting the most vulnerable population, seniors over the age of 65. Many holiday scams are variations of senior scams seen throughout the year. Staying vigilant can make all the difference this holiday season.
Here are five common senior scams to look out for this holiday season:
- Charity Scams – The most popular time to donate to a charity is from #GivingTuesday through New Year’s Eve. Only donate to charities that you are familiar with, keeping in mind that there will be many fake websites popping up promoting made-up charities. The name of the organization may closely resemble the name of a well-known organization, so pay close attention.
- Travel Scams – Travel is at an all-time high during the holidays, and everyone is looking for a great deal. If a booking site or email promotion deal seems too good to be true, it typically is. Stick to your go-to websites or work with a trusted travel agent to avoid a scam.
- Delivery Scams – Nearly 60% of consumers buy holiday gifts online giving thieves yet another opportunity to steal your identity, financial information, and other personal information. Scammers will distribute emails allegedly from delivery services, like UPS, FedEx, and the Postal Service. These emails will redirect you to a page that requires you to sign in and provide your information. If you already made a purchase, you already submitted this information and do not need to do so again.
- Santa Scams – For many, sending your grandkid a letter from Santa is a tradition. However, be cautious of the website you use. Thieves use this age-old tradition to collect information about your kids and grandkids that can compromise their credit in the future.
- Free Trials – A commonly seen scam is when you receive a free item and are required to only pay for shipping. The fine print, however, has you signing up for an ongoing subscription that can be impossible to cancel later.
These senior scams can be devastating not only for you but also for your loved ones. Remember: if it sounds odd, it probably is a scam. Pay extra close attention to email addresses and link URLs that may mimic a company you are familiar with to try to fool you. Additionally, do not give your personal information out over the phone just because someone calls you and asks for it. They may try sneaky tactics such as claiming to be the IRS or a credit card company or calling on behalf of a family member.
Common Signs of a Scam
One way to avoid becoming a victim of a scam is to know the warning signs. Here are a few red flags to look out for:
- No information about the business is found on the website like their street address or phone number.
- There are spelling and grammatical errors in marketing materials.
- The email address resembles a major company’s email address but is slightly different—for example, Facebook.com vs. Facbook.com.
- The website is unsecure (i.e., the website URL does not begin with “https”) and asks for your personal information.
- Advertisements for huge discounts on a high-ticket item that seems too good to be true probably are.
Speak with your loved ones about these types of holiday scams and make sure they know the signs. If you can’t be with your loved one at all times, but you feel they need additional support, an in-home companion or caregiver may be the best solution. Caregivers can help with tasks such as errands, toileting, bathing, and even holiday shopping. Contact 24/7 Nursing Care to learn more about hiring caregivers or companions for the holidays or all year round. We can be reached at 786-518-3622 in Miami or 954-949-1332 in Broward.
Aarp, & Aarp. (2018, December 3). How to Protect Yourself From Holiday Scams. Retrieved November 13, 2019, from https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2019/holiday.html.
Scams Targeting Seniors Holiday Edition. (n.d.). Retrieved November 13, 2019, from https://www.bbb.org/pittsburgh/holiday-resource-center/holiday-infographics/scams-targeting-seniors-holiday-edition/.