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How to Recognize Scams Targeting Seniors in Washington State

It’s unfortunate that there are people out there who will take advantage of senior citizens, especially during such an uncertain time. Many scams are designed to target elderly individuals, with the assumption that this population lacks a basic understanding of the online world. Almost all of these scams are intended to take money from trusting seniors by exploiting their anxieties and taking advantage of their generosity. In the middle of this unstable time, it may be worth exploring some common scams that target the elderly and steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved one from exploitation.

Scams Involving Phony Supplies or Medical Treatments

The sheer volume of information about the COVID-19 virus—and how much is unknown—is staggering. Scammers will try to exploit our confusion and desire for a cure by impersonating health organizations or medical professionals who can provide supplies and “cures” in exchange for private information. Many seniors have willingly given sensitive information about themselves, including their social security numbers, bank accounts, or passwords, to scammers in the hope of obtaining a vaccine or other bogus item promising to cure COVID-19.

Stimulus Check Scams

With the passing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in late March, Americans have been issued an economic relief check to help cushion the economic fallout caused by the pandemic. However, scammers were quick to prey upon seniors who were awaiting their check, impersonating government officials and asking them for their bank account information or even a fee to receive their check. Eager to obtain the money, many elderly individuals complied, handing over their sensitive data in the process.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones

The most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from scammers is to always approach the situation with skepticism. As soon as you receive a suspicious email or letter, contact someone you trust and ask them to evaluate the credibility of the offer. If you receive a phone call, it’s a good idea to ask for their contact number so you can think about their offer and call them back when you’ve made your decision. In many cases, they will simply hang up. 

 

Of course, if you ever have concerns about yourself or your aging loved one, remember that Legacy Law Group is here to help. Call our Spokane Valley office today at (509) 315-8087 to discuss your concerns with a dedicated elder law attorney.