You might remember the TV advertising campaign "Can You Hear Me Now." However, if someone calls you and asks that question, it could be one of many scam phone calls. In the time it takes for you to answer the question, you could have already fallen victim to a scam. The elderly are especially vulnerable to this type of phone call.
Recent reports show that consumers lose about $50 billion each year to scammers, with phone scams targeting seniors accounting for a large percentage of that total. History has shown that phone scams seem to be the easiest to orchestrate, but there are many ways consumers can be scammed via email, postal mail, or even face to face.
Here are some of the most recent scams that are targeting seniors:
"Can You Hear Me Now?" - Callers claiming to be from the IRS ask the question, "Can you hear me now?" The scammers record the consumer's response, and if the consumer says "Yes," the caller hangs up and calls back. During this second conversation, the caller asks the consumer if they are aware of the owed money and that the consumer must provide payment. The caller then uses the previous 'yes' recording to manipulate the phone records to show false proof of the consumer acknowledging and agreeing to provide the payments.
"Grandparent Scam" - Callers claim to be a grandchild who has been arrested and needs money to make bail. Sometimes they need money to repair a car after an accident. The caller warns that telling mom or dad can make the problem worse. You're asked to wire money or purchase gift cards that can be emailed. There are several variations to this scam. Often, the caller has the name of a grandson or granddaughter or can get you to tell them their name. They use that information in the conversation to gain the person's trust.
"Debt Collection" - Via telephone calls or postal mail, phony debt collectors demand money to cover unpaid debts. Often the victim is threatened with legal action if payments are not made. Always be careful with so-called debt collectors.
"Windows Error" – These people call and say your computer is sending out error messages on the internet. No, Microsoft will not contact you and tell you that your computer is sending out error messages.
"Apple Account" - Similar scam, but now it is Apple Support calling. Apple will not call you.
"Utility scam" - In this scam, they will say there was a billing error, and you are owed money. The scammer then asks for your account number. Your utility will not call you, and even if they did, they would know your account number - they called you.
"Internal Revenue Service" - You get a call claiming to be an IRS agent (or some other federal agency), and they give you their badge number. They then tell you that you owe money to the IRS, and unless you pay right away, a warrant for your arrest will be issued. The IRS will not call you as they communicate by mail.
"Car Warranty Expiring" - There are ligament companies that offer extended car warranties, but these companies call and ask you to "confirm" information. They are scams.
"Card Services" - Perhaps one of the most annoying as computers dial millions of numbers with a fake caller ID. The recorded voice says you qualified for a lower interest rate from your bank and asks you to press one. If you do, a live operator tries to get you to give them your name and account numbers. The goal is identify theft. The real bank would already know your information and probably would never do a blind call.
Elderly Can Be Duped Easier
These people can scam the best of us, but older people can fall for these much easier. Speak with older family members about these scams. It is always harder when you age to keep up with new technology, and sometimes they become too trusting.
The AARP has a fraud network that keeps up with the many scams - just click here.
Prepare for Your Future Aging
Before you get older, prepare for the many consequences of aging. Your health, body, and mind will deteriorate in the decades ahead. There is a good chance you will need long-term care services. People need long-term care due to an illness, accident, or the impact of aging.
The cost of long-term health care is not paid for by traditional health insurance or Medicare. Only Long-Term Care Insurance and Medicaid (the medical welfare program) offer long-term health care benefits. If you have savings, you need to take action now to protect them.
You can take action now to prepare for a future successful retirement. Be sure to start saving money in your employer's 401(k). Take better care of your health to reduce needed care sooner than later. Adding an affordable Long-Term Care Insurance policy is critical in retirement planning.
Licensed Agents Will Have to Ask Questions
Keep in mind that in order to get accurate quotes, a licensed Long-Term Care Insurance specialist will have to get your date of birth, address, gender, and health information. States require that agents determine "suitability," so they will ask financial questions.
These questions are not scams and are required to help you get accurate information and quotes. If you apply for Long-Term Care Insurance, you will have to provide even more information for the underwriting process.
Be prepared for real scams and be prepared for the costs and burdens of aging. Scams can happen to people of all ages. Aging happens to everyone. The consequences are real. Being prepared will make getting older easier.
About the Author
An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.
Contributor since August 21st, 2017
Being prepared for future declining health and aging has never been more critical than right now. Long-term health care costs are skyrocketing due to increasing demand, labor shortages, and high labor costs.
If you want to ensure you obtain quality care in the setting you desire, including in-home care, then getting affordable Long-Term Care Insurance is a vital part of your retirement planning.
Long-term care is a cash flow issue, but it is also a family issue, and the consequences on loved ones can be dramatic. Family caregivers find it hard to juggle their careers and family responsibilities with that of a caregiver for an older parent. The burden is something most people have said in surveys that they don't want to place on their family.
LTC Insurance provides guaranteed tax-free benefits to access your choice of quality care options, including care at home. You will protect your income and assets and reduce the stress and anxiety otherwise placed on loved ones.
Planning Tools and Resources on LTC NEWS
You can find many tools and resources on LTC NEWS to assist you in your research for a planning solution or help your family find the appropriate care for a loved one at the time of crisis.
To help you plan the costs and burdens of changing health and aging, LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:
- The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator will show you the current and future cost of long-term health care services where you live. Plus, each state has vital state-specific information you should know - Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State | LTC News
- The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide is an outstanding read to help you get a good overview of the topic area.
- Compare the major insurance companies that offer Long-Term Care Insurance products here - Top Insurers for Long-Term Care Insurance | LTC News.
- A detailed tax guide that includes available tax incentives can be found by reviewing the Long-Term Care Tax Benefits Guide.
Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.
Seek Professional Guidance
Insurance rates are regulated, so no insurance agent, agency, or financial advisor can give you special deals. However, insurance companies' premiums vary over 100% for the same coverage.
Experts suggest using a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you navigate the many options available to you and your family.
A specialist who works with the top companies can match your age, health, family history, and other factors and find you the best coverage at the best value. A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.
Finding Quality Care for Mom or Dad
Start by reading our four guides -
- Finding Quality In-Home Care | LTC News
- Adult Day Care Centers (ADCCs) | LTC News
- Assisted Living and Memory Care Facilities | LTC News
- Finding a Quality Nursing Home | LTC News
If they are lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea.
Get Help in Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim
Quality care obtained early will help provide a better quality of life and reduce the risk of a deep decline and facility care. If you need help in starting the process of a Long-Term Care Insurance claim, LTC NEWS can help.
LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you or a loved one complete the claims process with a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. We have teamed up with Amada Senior Care, who will do all the work, free with no obligation.
You can also get support in finding quality caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News.
Benefits of Reverse Mortgages
Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance.
Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, even help with cash flow during your retirement.
Learn more by asking questions to an expert. LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages.
- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.
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