COVID-19 Scams Target Seniors
Anyone can become a target during uncertain times. Seniors, in particular, are facing increased threats from potential scammers in 2020. At Senior Helpers in Lancaster County, we understand the risks faced by mature adults who want to age in place. And we're here to help you keep seniors safe during COVID. So stay alert! And watch out for these Coronavirus-related scams toward seniors.
Coronavirus / Medicare Scams in 2020
As of July 2020, there is no known cure or vaccine for COVID-19. If anyone contacts you claiming to be from Medicare, offering any special support for seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic, it's a scam! Just hang up. If they contact you multiple times, keep hanging up.
They may try to lure you into a conversation with:
Offers of a COVID-19 "Care Kit"
Boxes of extra face masks, hand sanitizer and gloves
An appointment for vaccination against COVID-19
These con artists are mostly looking to learn your Medicare benefits numbers, your Social Security number, your birthday and physical address. Once they have this information, they can seek free medical treatment, try to steal your identity for other reasons, or use it to bully and manipulate you. They may even threaten to cancel your benefits if you don't respond.
Remember, Medicare is a federal benefit that you've earned by working and paying taxes throughout your life. No one can cancel your benefits.
Medicare will never call your home about a COVID-19 program, or ask for your benefit numbers. Anytime someone asks you for these numbers, just hang up.
COVID-19 Cash Scams in 2020
Cash scams are running rampant too. With the recent signing of the CARES Act, these scams exploit seniors who are waiting for stimulus money or wonder about their eligibility. The news media says there might be a second round of stimulus payments, so watch for more scams related to stimulus payments.
These scammers are hoping to get their hands on your money, your credit cards or banking information. They may ask for this information, under the guise of sending stimulus payments.
The IRS will never call or email you asking for your banking information, credit card numbers, etc.
We think Medicare.gov says it best. "Always protect your Social Security and Medicare benefits numbers."
How to Avoid Scams — Know the Signs of a Scam
These thieves are sly! Know the key signs of a scam:
If you have a caller ID on your phone, it may display a local number, 800 number, or even your neighbor's phone number. But when you answer the call, they will claim to be from a government office. No government office would use a local phone number.
The caller might get very pushy, even threatening to take away your benefits or have you arrested.
They might speak English poorly.
Any emails or paperwork will have poor grammar or spelling.
And finally, if you've fallen victim to a con-artist, speak up! There is no shame in it. Con-artists can be very intelligent and persuasive. If you think you might have been scammed, let a family member or caregiver know. They can help you contact the bank and safeguard your information.
We hope you've enjoyed our article about senior scams in 2020. At Senior Helpers in Lancaster County, our mission is to help aging adults maintain their independence as they age in place. We know how to protect seniors during COVID.
We provide senior companion services and can help with transportation, shopping, and activities. We are an approved vendor with Lebanon VA and Coatesville VA Medical Centers, and we're proud to serve our veterans, too. Contact us to learn more about our in-home care services today.