Results are in. In the first half of 2019, five scams soared to the most-reported lists. While IRS tax scams had been the most popular scam in 2018, the Social Security scam took over first place. The four most popular scams are Social Security, IRS/tax, credit card, and debt-related.
Social Security Scams
How does a Social Security scam work? The caller may claim to be an agent with Social Security Administration. There’s a problem with your account and they need you to verify some information. In the process, they’ll ask you to confirm your SSN by sharing the full 10-digit number with the agent.
Spoofing is a tactic that’s making it harder for people to recognize it as a scam. With spoofing, scam artists alter caller ID to make it look like the IRS is the caller. It’s not the IRS even if the number on caller ID comes up as the IRS in searches.
The IRS scam involves telling the person that they owe taxes and are about to go to jail. The only way to avoid arrest is by paying the overdue taxes immediately. The scammer may ask for a credit card number, a wire, or gift cards to pay off the money due. The scammer may ask for confidential information like your date of birth, SSN, driver’s license, etc. to verify they have the right person on the line.
Credit Card Scams
The biggest credit card scam is one offering to lower your interest rates. To do so, you have to give your credit card number and expiration date. As soon as the scammer has that information, they can go make fraudulent purchases.
Debt scams work in a couple of ways. The caller may say you have debt that they can help you consolidate. You have to share account numbers and other personal information for them to help.
The other scam is that you owe money and it’s in collections. If you do not immediately pay the money owed, officers will be at your home to arrest you soon. Again, the caller will require gift cards, a wire, or bank account information in order to collect that payment.
One of the easiest ways to help your parents avoid being scammed is by hiring senior care. If they’re at a point where they could be confused or persuaded by someone on the phone, caregivers could help. They won’t be as lonely and interested in socializing with someone on the other end of the line. They also have a caregiver to help them determine fact from fiction. Call a senior care agency to learn more.