Older people are regularly bombarded with scammers via phone, email and text messages from around the world, and where you live and visit both in real time and virtually can make you a target.
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Seniors should be aware that clever scammers will take information about your home location to convince you that their business is legit.
Be aware that most scammers don’t just blindly call you from a list of names, but these groups use information extracted from you to target your money.
Living in a beautiful retirement community can be the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, but older homeowners should be aware that these developments are seen as ripe fields of scam opportunity.
A community of more than 55 residents is supposed to have its fair share of elderly people who can easily be taken advantage of. If you receive a call, email, or text from someone claiming to represent your development and asking for personal information, don’t give it to them.
When you provide information, it must be through a contact that you have initiated with a trusted person based on information that you have verified. These scammers may refer to the geography around your development or a member of the board of directors of a homeowners association you know in order to give them some form of legitimacy.
Any information you provide such as an address, email or phone number can be used against you in a scam. Do not communicate with strangers by phone, email or text message. Also know that while you can block these people on your electronic devices, there’s nothing stopping them from showing up at your home.
Scam artists like to knock on doors, especially unscrupulous roofers, lawn services, garage doors, and driveway repairmen. They will come to your door and tell you that they were working for your neighbors and noticed that you had a serious problem with your house, such as a problem with your roof.
Here’s a simple rule about home repairs, you have to be the person who identifies a problem around your home, then you have to call authorized repairers that the community trusts.
Never, ever do business with anyone who knocks on your door looking for work, and please never share information about yourself, bank accounts, credit card or mortgage information . One of the most important things you can do is never sign anything from someone soliciting business at your door.
Where you go both physically and virtually can lead to a wave of scammers. Every time you fill out an entry form for a prize or coupon, you are providing valuable information to scammers. Filling out a registration card for a free vacation or meal and then placing it in a box on a counter is like putting your private information on a bulletin board.
Do you know that scammers will even go into legitimate companies that have drawing boxes just to steal the forms out of the box? A sign-up form sitting on a counter or filling out virtually online gives scammers a blueprint on how to get your money, and also tells them what’s important to you.
Spring and summer are busy times for scammers trying to take advantage of seniors in Florida, as many people are considering projects around the home.
Don’t make it easy, keep all your information safe, and don’t contact anyone you don’t know about your personal information. Something as innocent as giving someone your middle name could help a scammer crack a password.
Also, never answer questions on social media that deal with first car, first date location, year you were born, etc., as these are just trick techniques for scammers to crack your passwords and extract information about you.
With the concentration of senior housing in Lake and Sumter counties, seniors should be very aware that they are always a target. The best advice to avoid getting scammed is to not hire strangers, don’t provide any personal information, immediately end calls with unknown people, and delete messages from unknown parties. Don’t trust anyone you really don’t know.
Don Magruder is the CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc., and he is also the host of the show “Around the House” which can be seen on AroundtheHouse.TV.