NEW YORK (WWTI) – New York Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection offering tips to help prevent and protect seniors from consumer fraud and scammers in advance of National Senior Citizens Day on Monday, August 21.

Financial fraud and exploitation are one of the most common types of elder abuse. In a recent AARP report, it is estimated that the annual loss of victims of financial abuse in the United States is at least $28.3 billion dollars.

“Older adults are too often targeted by predators that use a number of ever-evolving consumer fraud scams to steal personal information, money or more.”

Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez

More information is available about how you can recognize the most common older adult scams or for more scam prevention tips you can download The Division of Consumer Protection’s informative Senior Anti-Fraud Education brochure. If you have parents or older family members, explain these scams and protect them from being a victim of fraud.

Some of the most common older adult scams include:

  • Medical Device Scam: Unsolicited prerecorded messages offering free medical alert devices by requesting your address and credit card information.
  • Grandparent Scam: Scammers call or email asking for money while impersonating a beloved grandchild who is in trouble.
  • Ghosting Scam: Identity thieves obtain personal information about a deceased person and use their information to establish credit and open accounts, take out loans, receive benefits or even collect tax refunds filed under their stolen identity.
  • Jury Duty Scam: Scammers pretending to be law enforcement officers or court officials will say that you have failed to report to jury duty and must pay a fine by credit card to avoid an arrest.
  • Funeral Notification Scam: Scammers send emails about an upcoming farewell ceremony in remembrance of a friend or loved one and upon clicking a link in the email, you are sent to another website where software is automatically downloaded so scammers can gain access to your information.
  • Sweepstakes Scam: Scammers will try to entice you with various prize offers and then ask you to share personal information or pay a fee to enter the sweepstakes.
  • Internal Revenue Service Imposter Scam: Phone scammers impersonate IRS agents and demand immediate payment of overdue taxes from victims via debit card or wire transfer to avoid being arrested.
  • Free Grant Scam: Scammers promise fraudulent grants in print or over the phone and ask for your bank account and routing numbers.

“To help better protect our loved ones, these tips help to warn older adults and their family members about the different kinds of fraudulent schemes scammers use so they can avoid falling prey to their tricks.”

Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez

Tips to follow if you or someone you know receives a call or email you believe to be a scam:

  • RESIST the urge to act immediately;
  • VERIFY the caller’s identity;
  • DO NOT send cash, gift cards or money transfers; and
  • DO NOT give your personal banking account information by email or over the phone OR log into bank accounts as directed by the caller.

So, no matter how dramatic the story is, ask questions that a stranger couldn’t answer and check with a family member to see if the information is true. Just remember that once a scammer gets your money — it’s gone – so be vigilant.

You can follow the New York Department of State on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more practical tips that educate and empower New York consumers.