Scams Targeting the Elderly
Issued by: Det. Sgt. Jeremiah P. Marron Jr.
For Immediate Release
Darien, CT- As many senior citizens spend their
retirement traveling with family, pursuing second careers or becoming more
active in the community, con artists are creating devious schemes to prey on
their accumulated wealth.
Family Emergency Scams
Scammers may pose as relatives or friends, calling
or sending messages to urge you to wire money immediately. They’ll say they
need cash to help with an emergency — like getting out of jail, paying a
hospital bill, or needing to leave a foreign country. Their goal is to trick
you into sending money before you realize it’s a scam.
Verify an Emergency
If someone calls or sends a
message claiming to be a family member or a friend desperate for money:
Resist the urge to act
immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is.
Verify the person’s
identity by asking questions that a stranger couldn’t possibly answer.
Call a phone number
for your family member or friend that you know to be genuine.
Check the story out
with someone else in your family or circle of friends, even if you’ve been told
to keep it a secret.
Don’t wire money — or send a check or
money order by overnight delivery or courier.
Report possible fraud
at ftc.gov/complaint or
by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.
impersonate your loved one convincingly.
It’s surprisingly easy for a scam artist to
impersonate someone. Social networking sites make it easier than ever to sleuth
out personal and family information. Scammers also could hack into the e-mail
account of someone you know. To make their story seem legitimate, they may
involve another crook who claims to be an authority figure, like a lawyer or
play on your emotions.
Scammers are banking on your love and concern
to outweigh your skepticism. In one version of this scam, con artists
impersonate grandchildren in distress to trick concerned grandparents into
sending money. Sometimes, this is called a “Grandparent Scam.”
swear you to secrecy.
Con artists may insist that you keep their
request for money confidential – to keep you from checking out their story and
identifying them as imposters. Victims of this scam often don’t realize they’ve
been tricked until days later, when they speak to their actual family member or
friend who knows nothing about the “emergency.” By then, the money they sent can't
insist that you wire money right away.
Scammers pressure people into wiring money because it’s like sending
cash – once it’s gone, you can’t trace it or get it back. Imposters encourage
using money transfer services so they can get your money before you realize
you’ve been scammed.
If you believe you’ve responded
to or fallen victim to a scam, file a complaint with:
The Darien Police
The FTC 1-877-FTC-HELP