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mmw-scamming-grandmaFinancial scams targeting Tuscaloosa’s seniors have sadly become so prevalent that we feel the need to arm them with information so they know what to beware.

Seniors seem like attractive prey for unsavory types because they are thought to have money sitting in savings accounts, accumulated from a lifetime of working hard and saving for retirement. Technology also gives thieves the impression that they can easily scam seniors, who may not be as tech-savvy, without any consequence.

The risk is that seniors aren’t fully aware of the risks. The National Council on Aging identified several scams Tuscaloosa seniors and their families should be aware of:

Cemetery Scams: A disreputable funeral home may attempt to pad the bill with unnecessary charges, essentially taking advantage of a widow or widower while grieving a great loss. The senior may need to rely on a loved one to help. In another scam, a stranger may read a loved one’s obituary and claim the deceased owed them money.

Too-Good-to-Be-True Offers:  If someone claims you’ve won something and need to make a good faith payment to get it, this is likely a case of fraud.

Fraud: Emails that appear to be from a legitimate company or institution may be imitations created by con artists to trick the senior into revealing personal information that can be used to open lines of credit or steal savings. Logos can easily be downloaded and convincing-looking websites created.

Health Care Scams: Those over 65 qualifying for Medicare make appealing targets to scam out of money. Perpetrators may claim to be a Medicare representative to get personal information or provide fake services at makeshift mobile clinics, then use the senior’s confidential details to bill Medicare and pocket the cash.

If you’ve been scammed, don’t be too hard on yourself. People in Tuscaloosa and across America fall for con artists every day, but now you know what to be on the lookout for so you can defend yourself.