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Protecting Seniors Against Coronavirus Scams

All Heart Home Care San Diego Senior Fraud

Pandemics and natural disasters tend to bring out the best in people. There is always a rush in donations of money, food, and medical equipment during emergency events. First responders, caregivers, and medical professionals are also inspirational during times of crisis.

However, there is always a small proportion of the population who behave badly during events like the current coronavirus epidemic. This includes scammers who pretend to be collecting money for charities or attempt to trick people into disclosing personal information to commit identity fraud.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued a warning about coronavirus-related scams. They have seen an increasing number of phone calls and email phishing attempts from scammers in recent weeks. The IRS says that these contacts are often made in an attempt to commit tax-related fraud or identify theft.

Scammers Targeting Seniors

Scammers will often target seniors because they tend to be more trusting of strangers. Seniors can also be less informed about how the IRS and other government agencies operate. They may not understand that these agencies will never ask for confidential information over social media, email, via telephone or text message.

Seniors who are unwell or socially isolated are particularly at risk. They may not have the energy or awareness to determine if a person is genuine or a scammer.

Techniques Often Used by Coronavirus Scammers

Some techniques being used by coronavirus scammers include:

Communications mentioning “stimulus payments”

Scammers will send emails or make phone calls mentioning a “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” They will say that a person needs to disclose some personal details to receive this payment from the government. The IRS never asks for confidential information in this way and they only use the term “economic impact payment” when describing payments associated with coronavirus.

Attempting to get someone to sign over an economic impact payment

Some scammers will attempt to convince a person to sign over their payment. In most cases, the scammer will pretend that the person is eligible for a much larger payment but needs to return their initial economic impact payment to receive it.

Asking for personal and/or banking information

Scammers may use phone, email, text messages, and social media to ask for personal and/or banking information. They will often say that their target needs to provide this information immediately to receive a payment.

Suggest they can speed up the economic impact payment

If a person claims to be from the IRS and says they can speed up processing of a payment, it is an obvious red flag. The IRS will not speed up economic impact payments to specific individuals.

Dodgy checks in the mail

Some scammers are sending bogus checks to people with a letter saying that they need to contact a phone number or email address to cash it. The scammer then attempts to obtain confidential information from the check recipient.

How In-Home Care Providers Protect Seniors from Scammers

In-home care is a flexible form of aged care which can be tailored to meet a client’s personal requirements. Caregivers can perform a wide range of tasks for clients, including:

  • Cleaning the home
  • Grocery shopping
  • Providing transportation to appointments and social engagements
  • Ensuring the home is a safe space (removing trip hazards, turning on lights)
  • Laundry
  • Assistance with personal hygiene tasks
  • Companionship, and much more

Caregivers can also protect clients from scammers in several ways:

Stopping scammers from getting a foot in the door

Caregivers can act as gatekeepers, protecting the client from unscrupulous people. They can answer the phone, greet people at the door, and screen emails to ensure the client remains protected at all times.

Checking if government correspondence is legitimate

If a letter arrives in the mail from the IRS or another government agency, the senior client can ask the caregiver to verify it is legitimate. Our caregivers can get in contact with the agency in question to determine if the correspondence is genuine.

Explaining how government assistance actually works

There is a lot of misinformation around during times of crisis. Caregivers can help seniors understand what is happening in the world in terms of government intervention. The client will know all the details of the economic impact payment, including how much it is, if they are eligible, and when they might receive it. Knowing these facts makes them less vulnerable to scammers.

Helping the client understand common scams

Our caregivers can remind seniors how scammers are likely to approach them. The next time a dodgy phone call, email, or text message appears, your loved one will immediately realize it is a scam and disengage.

I hope you found the article informative. For more information on the services provided by All Heart Home Care, please contact our friendly team at 619-736-4677.

Eric Barth
Eric Barth
CEO and blogger for All Heart Home Care. I devote myself to helping seniors age in their own home while maintaining a feeling of independence, preserve their dignity, and enhance the quality of their life. I write these blogs to help educate the public on issues surrounding what seniors find to be the most important. My blogs are from my own personal research. I hope you enjoy my blog posts.

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