Reasons Why Fraudsters Target Seniors
Con artists target seniors, particularly in insurance fruad and health scams because they are seen to be easily trusting and gullible. According to the FBI, some other reasons why seniors are targeted for fraud include:
Older citizens are likely to accumulate savings over the years and are likely to own their home and/or have a decent line of credit. They often are in a financial stable position. This attracts con artists who whip up new schemes and fake health products or insurances to scam the savings of the elderly.
Individuals who grew up in the 1930s to the 1950s were raised to be polite and trusting. These are two positive traits, but can make an individual more vulnerable to con artists. Because these individuals tend to be too polite to say "NO" or just hang up the phone.
Elder people are the least likely to report fraud for one or more reasons. Some of these reasons include they lack information on how to report a fraud, they have a hard time admitting that they fell into a scam, or they may not realize that they have been scammed or defrauded. As well as, elder victims of fraudsters often worry that their family members will began to think that they lack the mental capacity to manage their own financial affairs if they admit being defrauded.
When an elderly victim reports fraud, they often make poor witnesses. The con artists knows the affects of age on memory and knows that by the time the victim realizes they have been defrauded, which may be weeks or months after the incident they won't be able to provide detail information to the investigators. Information about how many times the fraudster called, the time of the day they called, if it was always the same person who called, the last time they talked to the person, if the person had an accent, what the person promised, etc.
- Lastly, older individuals often become the victim of health scams, promising improved cognitive functions, longevity and cancer fighting products. This is because in a country like America that has new medical breakthroughs in vaccinations to cure older diseases, it gives individuals new hope. Hope that fraudsters use in their advantage as they promote their phony health improving or fake health insurance plans.
How to Avoid Health Insurance Fraud
For some tips on how seniors and other avoid health insurance fraud include:
- Avoid signing blank insurance claim forms.
- Review your insurer's benefits statement carefully. Call if you have any questions or need clarifications.
- Ask your health care providers what they charge for a visit, treatment, procedure, and what you will need to pay out of your pocket.
- Refuse to do business with door-to-door or telephone salespersons who offer free medical services or equipment.
- Give your insurance/Medicare number only to those who provided you with certified medical services.
- Make note of all of your health care and medical appointments.
- Know if your doctor ordered special equipment for you.