Financial literacy means having the skills necessary to make sound financial decisions. With more transactions taking place digitally and the increase in scams aimed at older adults in Pelham, AL, financial literacy takes on new meaning.  It’s essential for seniors and their loved ones to understand financial risks. Being aware of scams can help seniors avoid sharing personal information and making unnecessary purchases that put their credit and finances at risk.

Phone Scams

It’s common for seniors to get calls from individuals posing as Medicare and Social Security representatives. The goal is to get seniors to give up their personal information, such as a Social Security number or a bank account number. To be safe, never give personal information to someone who calls asking for it; hang up the phone. Another fraudulent practice is phony sweepstakes companies calling seniors to tell them they’ve won a prize, but they must send money or gift cards to claim the prize. If this happens, hang up the phone.

Computer Scams

Technology has created a gold mine for scam artists to steal personal information or hack into online accounts. A senior may receive an email requesting personal data or telling them that their computer has been compromised and to call a number to speak with a technician. Clicking on suspicious emails can lead to computer viruses or open the door to hackers. If you get these emails, mark them as spam to stop them from coming to your inbox. Never respond to suspicious emails with your personal information.

Scams Aimed at Widowed Persons

If you’re a widowed person who relied on your spouse to carry out all financial transactions, you may be vulnerable to shady characters who try to sell services or products. Never sign a contract for a service or make a large purchase without first discussing it with someone you trust.

There are dishonest people who prey on lonely seniors. Sweetheart scam artists target single seniors with the promise of a relationship, but the goal is to get money and gifts. These deceitful lovers set up fake social media profiles or email their victims. The lesson here is to be wary of getting involved in an online relationship.

Avoid Real Estate Scams

A common real estate scam involves individuals calling Pelham seniors and offering to buy their homes. However, these home buyers typically make low offers, with plans to sell the homes for hefty profits. If you consider downsizing, moving into a smaller place can provide financial security. However, it’s best to do your due diligence beforehand, from scouting home prices in Pelham to finding a reputable, local real estate agent to work with, one who can help you get an appraisal and sell your home for what it’s worth. If you’re thinking of taking equity out of your home, work with your bank or a bank that has a reputation for honesty and excellent customer service.

Protect Your Finances With Knowledge

It pays to keep up with issues regarding your finances. By being knowledgeable, you can avoid scams that target older adults.

Visit The Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging website for more resources, advice, and guidance.

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