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Retirees should be aware of scams targeting senior citizens

An ideal retirement involves a bank account or pension plan that can allow a person to benefit from years of hard work. Unfortunately, criminals and schemers are too often trying get the money that older people have spent a lifetime earning. According to MetLife, people over the age of 60 are losing almost $3 billion every year because of financial abuse. One expert on fraud has stated that people swindling retirees are often family members, friends or neighbors. For Colorado families interested in the long term care planning of their aging loved ones, it may help to be aware of some of the most common schemes.

The first scheme to watch out for involves advanced fees in which a fraudster will try to get a victim to pay for something that was not ordered. Inheritance scams and lottery scams are common in this category. For example, a caller might tell the victim that he or she has won a large amount of money or is entitled to a large inheritance. In order to receive the money, however, the victim must first provide fees for things such as taxes or insurance.

Another scam involves a caller that poses as a person's grandchild. The caller will sometimes claim to be in a foreign country and in desperate need of money. They will ask the senior citizen to wire them money while begging them to not contact their parents.

Older people are also unfortunately susceptible to technology-related scams. By posing as a representative from Microsoft or Apple, a scammer can trick an older person into logging onto a website that steals personal information. Other scams can involve time shares, house repairs or medical equipment. The most important thing for retirees and aging people to remember is that it's very dangerous to give out personal information over the phone. Help should be sought before giving any money to an unknown caller, either from law enforcement or an experienced attorney.

Source:, "Watch out: 7 scams that target retirees" Rodney Brooks, Jan. 14, 2014

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