Unfortunately, the elderly or disabled can easily be a target of scams. Whether it has to do with fake letters from Social Security, telephone scams targeting the elderly, or another type of scam that seems legitimate at first, it’s important to be well-aware of all of the Social Security and Medicare scams targeted at the elderly.
Read on to learn more about these scams, and how you as a caregiver or patient, can be knowledgeable about protecting the elderly from financial abuse.
Social Security Scams and the Elderly
Your Social Security number (or the number of someone you are caring for) is one of your most important assets and pieces of information. It’s very wise not to carry your Social Security card in your wallet, should it get lost. Make sure to keep it in a safe place, and memorize the number.
When it comes to Social Security scams, they can manifest in several ways. You may receive a paper letter asking you for information regarding your Social Security number. Often, the scammers may request it saying there has been a security breach and you need to verify your account. Never give out your Social Security number in written correspondence. Another way this can work with Social Security scams is scamming the elderly online—you may receive the same request via email. Do not respond with any personal information or your Social Security number.
Another way Social Security scams target the elderly is on the phone. If you’re wondering, “Does the Social Security office make phone calls,” the answer is “no.” Perhaps the only exception is if you’ve applied for Social Security disability and your local office is calling you regarding information or an upcoming appointment. Still, during these phone calls no one would ask for your personal information or threaten to suspend your account.
Medicare Scams and the Elderly
Medicare scams that target the elderly are very similar to Social Security scams. You will likely receive a phone call, email, or written correspondence, which may look fundamentally legitimate, asking you for personal information. One of the best ways to tell if the elderly are getting scammed online, via the phone, or in written correspondence is the obvious request for personal information. This could be your bank account number, email and password, Social Security number, or another piece of personal information. Just as with Social Security, Medicare will not call you and will not suspend your account.
Social Security and Medicare Scams Targeting the Elderly: What to Do if Your Elderly Parent is Being Scammed
If you believe that your parent or a loved one is being scammed, or they have received something via email, phone, or written correspondence that seems like a scam, the best thing to do is to report Social Security phishing, which can be accomplished several different ways. This goes beyond just reporting a phishing email; you want to submit a written report directly to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), particularly when your parent or loved one has already given out sensitive information.
To file a report regarding Social Security scams targeting the elderly, you can accomplish this through the OIG website, or submit it through the mail by writing Social Security Fraud Hotline, P.O. Box 17785, Baltimore, Maryland, 21235. You can also call 1-800-269-0271 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. To report Medicare scams targeting the elderly, the best way to do this is to call 1-800-MEDICARE, or you can visit the official Medicare site for more information.
To get more information about Social Security and Medicare scams targeting the elderly, or to find out about mobility products that can be life-changing, such as chair lifts or wheelchair ramps, contact Williams Lift Co. today. We want both caregivers and their patients to live their best lives.