According to the Federal Trade Commission, financial scams tied to COVID-19 are on the rise. Through June 4, the FTC has received nearly 36,000 complaints involving coronavirus-related fraud, with consumers losing more than $46 million so far.
Scams targeting people 65 and older abound, with swindlers attempting to convince unsuspecting seniors to wire them money or divulge private financial information. Medicare scams involve criminals soliciting—either online or over the phone—private data needed to steal recipients’ federal health insurance benefits or access their bank accounts.
Impostors claiming to be from Social Security to get your personal information
The Social Security Administration and its Office of the Inspector General are warning the public about a nationwide telephone scam. Criminals impersonating Social Security officials are actively calling individuals around the country claiming there are problems with the person’s Social Security number as well as pending legal action against them. Callers coerce victims into providing personal information and money by threatening to suspend their accounts.
Aging Americans lose an estimated $36.5 billion each year to financial scams—and deceptive activity is especially high during the winter holiday season. Many older adults are trusting individuals with good credit and savings in the bank—qualities that make them likely targets for financial fraud. What’s more, scam victims are often too ashamed to report the crimes, making law enforcement efforts extra difficult.