A serious warning to New Jersey retirees
So much of our information is out there on the web and in the hands of some pretty unscrupulous creeps. If you think you're savvy enough to know when you're being scammed, think again. These scammers do this for a living and are pretty sophisticated at getting at your money.
Some people may think since they have some basic information about you, that they must be legit. The vast majority of the time, they're not.
Please be careful not to give out personal information to unsolicited callers. A family member recently received multiple calls from people representing themselves as being from my Medicare and Part-D companies. They asked for personal information to “verify” his accounts. When he researched the phone numbers, they were identified as scamming numbers. He had no idea how they knew who he was insured with, but they had the right company names.
Like I said, much of our "personal" information is out there. Companies sell lists of information all the time. Some companies will tell you in their literature that they don't, but many do. Never give out personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call and know exactly who you're speaking with.
If you receive such a call, simply end the call. Then you can follow up with your actual insurance provider if you need reassurance that they do not call you to verify your information.
Financial fraud targeting older Americans is a growing epidemic that costs seniors an estimated $2.9 billion annually according to the Government Accountability Office. This estimate is likely low as often seniors do not report fraud because they are too ashamed to admit they have been scammed, may not even know that they are victims, or do not know how to report it.
If you are fearful of being scammed, there are resources out there that can help you stay safe. Many seniors come from an age where this sort of thing was unheard of. In our modern world, you don't have to leave your home or have your house broken into to get robbed of lots of money. There are lots of tips to avoid being a victim of financial fraud.
If you're worried about an elderly relative, here are some tips that may help. Yeah, it costs to join but they offer a lot of things that seniors may not even be aware of that can really make a difference.
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Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy only.
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