By Brenda Diaz
Gladys received a telephone call from a telephone number she did not recognize. When she answered, she was asked if she was a senior, Gladys said “yes.” The caller asked her to confirm her full name and address. Gladys confirmed the information. At that point the caller then rattled off a series of numbers and asked Gladys to confirm this was her bank routing number. Gladys hung up the phone. This was the best thing she could have done. Gladys was in the process of being scammed.
Unfortunately, seniors are a major target of scamming. Currently, there is an unfortunate trend of scammers using Healthcare Reform as a way of getting into a senior’s retirement fund. Whether it is a person or a group of people targeting seniors, seniors must be savvy to avoid a scam. In 2012, The Federal Government received 83,000 complaints, up 12 percent from 2011.
Medicare discount cards cannot be sold over the telephone. Contact Medicare directly to enroll in their programs at 800-MEDICARE.
Seniors may also be vulnerable to big return investment scams, fraudulent lottery winnings or reverse mortgage opportunities. Never make a limited-time offer decision. If you are being pressured over the telephone, chances are they are not who they said they were.
Lenny was at home watching television, when he heard a knock on his front door. When he went to his door, a local contractor was offering him free estimates on any work he needed done at home. Lenny let the gentleman in and started explaining how many things he needed done around the house. Lenny thought he was getting a great deal and the contractor was just what he needed. Unfortunately, Lenny gave the contractor a check for the supplies and the contractor did not return to perform the services. Never hire anyone who comes to your door without you initially contacting them.
Please remember this golden rule, any opportunity that sounds too good to be true, most likely is.
Five tips to avoid a scam:
•Never give any personal or financial information.
•Register your telephone number with the Do Not Call Registry by calling 888-382-1222.
•Ask many questions. And make sure you get answers from a company you can trust and verify is legitimate.
•Take all the time you need to make a sound decision.
•Carefully read all the fine print on written correspondence stating any lottery or travel winnings.
Brenda Diaz is the director of community relations at Wingate Healthcare. She can be reached at Wingate of Needham or Wingate of Sudbury, 781-707-6106. Visit their website at www.wingatehealthcare.com and wingatehealthcare.com/location_needham. Archives of articles from previous issues can be read on fiftyplusadvocate.com.