Retirees are often the targets of various scams. Some unscrupulous people view our elders as easy prey to their tricks and try to cheat them out of their hard-earned, limited retirement money. Here are five of the worse retirement scams all retirees should be aware of, no matter how far from retirement you are.
Medicare card scams
The federal government is currently replacing all old Medicare cards in an attempt to increase security and prevent identity theft. However, this change provides opportunities for scammers to take advantage of Medicare recipients in various ways, from asking people to “verify” personal information, to telling people there is a fee for the new card.
Social security suspension scams
One type of scam often targeted at retirees starts with a call claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. The person on the phone will claim that your social security number has been suspended due to suspected criminal activity and that you need to provide personal information to get it reactivated.
Gift card scams
While this scam does not solely target retirees, they can easily fall victim to it. The scam works by the perpetrator getting the numbers off of gift cards in the store and waiting for them to activated by someone else buying them (which the thief finds out via computer software) and then quickly spending the money on the gift card.
Fake sweepstakes check scams
If you receive a “winning check” in the mail for a sweepstake you don’t remember entering, it is almost certainly a scam. Depositing the check and following the instructions with it will not result in you gaining money, but losing your savings. This scam is often targeted at retirees due to memory problems.
Utility bill scams
Scammers choose to target retirees for this type of scam because they are often more easily intimidated than younger people. This scam occurs when the thief calls a retiree claiming to be from their utility company and threatening to turn off their power, water, etc. if they don’t pay an imaginary past-due balance.