Everyone needs to be alert to scams, but seniors can be particularly vulnerable.
There are several reasons scammers target seniors. They are easy to reach at home, they are from a more trusting generation and they are more likely to have nest eggs.
One of the reasons its important to address now is we are running in to a prime time for a common scam. Scammers will go door-to-door offering to fix up your home. Whether that would be roof or siding, they ask for money up front, and never do the work.
Another common scam that keeps happening is the grandkids scam. Several seniors in our area have fallen victim. A person calls claiming to be a grandchild, saying they are in trouble and needing immediate cash.
But there are dozens of other scams out there and the La Crosse County Aging Unit says scammers are only getting smarter. "They know when open enrollment is for insurance, they know the names of the insurance companies in the area so, they could be calling pretending to be your insurance company during that window where you would expect your insurance company to be calling," said Tina Johnson from the La Crosse County Aging Unit.
Health insurance is a big reason why seniors are targets. It's complicated and they are constantly using medical care. The aging unit says the way to protect yourself is to be suspicious of phone calls, and don't be afraid to ask questions. "If it really is your insurance company or your bank, they have your social security number, your medicare number, ask them for it, even date of birth, if they really, you can say if you really are my company, what's my date of birth?" said Johnson.
One problem is that if a senior is using Medicare, their ID number is their Social Security Number, so they become comfortable handing that out.
Many seniors could benefit from updating their phone. Some still have older phones with no caller ID. Getting that caller ID can help you identify who is calling.
Also, the La Crosse County Aging unit has resources to help you avoid scams, just call (608) 785-9710.
Click here to see some of the most common scams targeting seniors.
Do you know of a scam that people show hear about? Send them our way. You can share them with us by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org. If the scam was an email, please include it. You can also leave a message on our WKBT News8000 Facebook page.
You can report the scam to the Wisconsin Consumer Protection Bureau.