May is Older Americans Month, a time to honor our seniors and to encourage everyone, regardless of age, to live life to the fullest.
Older Ohioans are a valuable resource, with their knowledge, skills and experience. Unfortunately, seniors have long been a target of scam artists, and as the population of older Ohioans grows, that trend likely will continue.
According to recent reports from U.S. Census data, Ohio’s median age is growing, and the number of Ohioans who are 65 and older grew by about seven percent from 2000 to 2010.
Scam artists often target older Ohioans because they may have retirement savings and assets that younger generations do not. Plus, seniors may live alone or be isolated from family members or friends.
Older Ohioans should beware of the following scams:
- Fake check scams: Someone sends you a check and asks you to deposit it, then send some of the money via wire-transfer. Regardless of the pitch, the result is the same: the check is counterfeit. It will be returned to your bank unpaid and the full amount will be deducted from your account. Never wire transfer money to a stranger.
- Grandparent scam: Con artists pose as grandchildren and call saying, “Hi Grandma” or “Hi Grandpa.” They say they are stuck in another country and need you to send money via wire transfer. Of course, any money you send will go to the scammer, not to your real grandchild. When in doubt, hang up and call a trusted family member.
- Living trust scams: Beware of people who make exaggerated or false claims about probate costs or the tax advantages of living trusts. These scams usually target lower-income consumers.
- Phishing: Some scammers pretend to be your bank or a government agency, and ask for your bank account number, password or Social Security number. Never respond to unexpected requests for your personal information.
- Phony charities: You may receive letters or calls from someone who is only pretending to represent a charity. Before you donate, ask how much of your donation will go to the charity and verify that the charity is legitimate by calling the Attorney General’s Help Center at 800-282-0515.
- Prizes/sweepstakes scams: Someone claims that you have won a lottery or other prize, but you’re asked to pay a fee, often via wire transfer, to collect your winnings. This is a scam; legitimate sweepstakes are free and require no purchases.
History of Older Americans Month – Ohio Department of Aging
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