Many frauds have been made over the phone because their victims are not able to identify them by appearance or show any proof of the fraud. Senior people can be easier targets than younger ones for several reasons:

  • Because of their declining ability to remember things clearly.
  • Because some of them are believed to have substantial bank accounts and home equity amassed through saving and investing.
  • They are often lonely and willing to speak with anyone who shows an interest in them.
  • Some of them may have cognitive impairment and are not able to make decisions clearly.
  • Old people are generally more trusting and polite than younger generations.

Read through these examples and share them with any family members or friends who might benefit.

“Everyone is selling something, if you can’t see what people are selling, maybe you’re the cart.”  — Aniekee Tochukwu Ezekiel

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 The Lottery winning

One lottery phone scam made by a Jamaican man in Virginia cost an 83-year-old woman half a million dollars. The man was soon caught and put in jail, but everyone has to know how these schemes work so that they can prevent them from happening.

If someone calls you to say that you’ve won a lottery or contest, think twice before believing them. You have to know one basic thing – lotteries don’t call their winners because they don’t know who the person with the winning ticket is. On the other hand, sweepstakes know who the winner is, but no one from these organizations asks you to wire them money.

Bear in mind that you don’t have to pay anything up front—not even taxes—to get your legitimate prize. This thing is the most important one. You cannot win a lottery that you never entered! Think about this for a second.

 Your relative is in jail; please help!

Some scammers are calling allegedly in the name of a person you know and care about, who is in distress. For example, in the name of your grandson.

They could say he is in jail and needs bail money, or that he has been in an accident and needs money to pay his hospital bills.If they happen to know that your relative is at college, they may even ask for money for his/her tuition, or to pay for transportation to get home from a foreign country where he/she has been robbed.

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If you’re not really sure who is calling, hang up and call someone you trust to check this information.

 Pay immediately, or you’ll be arrested!

Some phone scammers may be pretending to call you from the Internal Revenue Service or the U.S. Treasury Department. They may ask you to send the money for your supposedly unpaid taxes.

You have to know this fact first – if you really owe back taxes, the IRS will first contact you by mail. The worst thing that can happen if you owe some tax payments is that you’ll have to pay up what you owe plus penalties and late fees. You will not be called to pay it immediately but will have plenty of time to do so. You may even be able to set up a monthly payment plan, but you definitely won’t be thrown in jail for tax evasion. This could happen only if you’ve been deliberately avoiding your taxes and refusing to cooperate with the IRS for years.

Bear in mind that scammers could also commit tax fraud by mail. You should contact the IRS directly and make sure that the message really came from them.

Never give out your address or any personal information to anyone over the phone!

 You haven’t paid your electricity bills

This is called a utility scam. The scammer poses as someone from your gas, electric, phone, Internet or Cable Company. They then claim that you haven’t paid your bill and that your services will be shut off. Then, they will probably try to make you give them your personal information. Afterward, they will use the information to steal your money or even your identity.

In this case, you should hang up and call the company in question directly using the phone number on your last statement.

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 We are very sorry, but…

If someone close to you has recently died, scammers could use the information from the deceased’s obituary to find you and demand some payment for a debt that person allegedly owes to them.

Whatever they might tell you, do not pay them anything before you check for the proof of their claims. Don’t pay immediately as they might ask you to do it but hung up immediately. Even though the deceased person might have some unpaid debts, you shouldn’t try to resolve this issue through an unsolicited phone call. Even if the debt is real, it is not your duty to pay it back, right?