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Life Lessons: Scam artists targeting seniors

By Nancy Werteen, Anchor / Reporter, NWerteen@wfmz.com
Published On: May 29 2013 04:38:39 AM CDT
Updated On: May 29 2013 08:05:15 AM CDT

F inancial scams targeting seniors have become so prevalent that they’re now considered “the crime of the 21st century.”

The National Council on Aging says financial scams targeting seniors have become so prevalent that they’re now considered “the crime of the 21st century.”

According to the US Census Bureau, there are now more Americans who are 65 and older than any other time in our history.

Unfortunately, there are lots of scams out there targeting seniors but here are a few tips on some of the most recent schemes that can take well meaning senior citizens by surprise.

Mom, dad, elderly neighbor - they are prime targets of thieves! Met Life's Mature Market Institute estimates seniors lose $2.6 billion each year due to financial abuse and fraud!

Watch out for the Social Security ripoff.

This recent scam involves identity thieves stealing personal information and contacting the Social Security Administration to change the payment routing information to the thieves' own bank accounts or prepaid debit cards.

And beware of the discount prescription scam.

Callers offer seniors prescription drugs at 50 percent off. The catch? There's a $200 membership fee to join the discount club and the seniors are asked to pay it with a credit card. The drugs never arrive, and if they do, it's actually a generic herbal replacement.

Also, if you notice your parents are getting a lot of junk mail or telemarketing calls, they may be a prime target for scammers.

Ripoff artists sell names and phone numbers of seniors who prove to be phone receptive.

In other words, they are too polite to hang up on telemarketers.

Be sure the seniors you know are on the do-not-call registry. You can sign up at 1-888-382-1222.