As Americans get older, it is often common that, in the eyes of criminals, they become easier targets. Older citizens are thought to have a lot of money saved up and ready to be spent. This makes them a perfect target for Fraud. Here, we list some of the most prominent scams occurring throughout the Older American population, according to the FBI.
Counterfeit Prescription Drugs
The selling of counterfeit prescription drugs is a common occurrence in the United States. In order to make a profit fast, criminals create and distribute these fake drugs to willing buyers. This is especially the case for older Americans. It is known that as we get older, we need to take care of ourselves, whether it be with vitamins, iron pills, etc. It is important to be aware of this scam and to be cautious. Counterfeit prescription drugs can be very hazardous to your health. Sometimes these drugs do not have the right amount of the active ingredients your body needs, or they may completely void of those ingredients altogether. This can have serious side effects. If you feel any different, it is important to contact your doctor immediately.
There are a few things you can do to make sure that your prescriptions are legitimate. When you receive a prescription, make sure that there is nothing suspicious about the label. If the prescription is fake, there could be changes on the new label, so always compare your previous prescription’s label to your new one. Always be cautious when using the internet as well because unlicensed service providers are everywhere and will not hesitate to try to persuade you to use their service. Only use trusted sites. It may be helpful to have your doctor recommend prescription sites. Before you purchase anything on a site, Google the name of that site to find any scam reports or bad reviews.
Healthcare Fraud/Health Insurance Fraud
Healthcare is an important component of people’s lives, so it is no surprise to learn that there are scams that play on the importance of taking care of yourself. One of the most common healthcare scams used is called “Rolling Lab” schemes. “Rolling Labs” involve the healthcare company running fake tests on a patient, including blood tests, urine samples, MRI’s etc. These companies then bill the patient’s insurance or Medicaid. These tests are usually unnecessary and are just being done to acquire more money.
There are a few precautions you can make when dealing with the healthcare system. Ask your doctor why you need those tests. If it isn’t an emergency that needs to happen right away, perhaps you may want to get a second opinion.
Know what you are going to pay out of pocket. If that price is known, you will automatically know that something is wrong when you are asked to pay more. Do not talk to or buy anything from door-to-door sales people who are telling you the medical equipment or medicine they are selling is free – it usually is not.
We have all received a call from the “866” or “800” number. It’s a telemarketer, trying to sell their product. Some products are legitimate, but many are fake. Usually, the target of telemarketing crimes are Americans over 60 years old. Fake companies sell fake products by having people pose as employees to gather extra money from unsuspecting buyers. The target age is 60 and older because most of these people are retired and have some “money in the bank”. They may also be easier to persuade, especially if the fake product is geared towards the interests of older Americans. Some warning signs for Telemarketing fraud are:
-Offers for free prizes, vacations, and cars with a “shipping & receiving” payment
-If the company is unfamiliar in any way (you’ve never heard of them, their product is odd, etc.) – a quick google search of the company or product could help with that.
-If they imply that you don’t need written material about the company. This could be informational brochures, newsletters, etc.
-If they offer to send a messenger to come pick up the money. This may seem like a great convenience for you, but really it is just them getting the money as quick as possible and then disappearing.
If you have been a victim of any of these and have lost money because of it, contact one of our licensed experts at One Reverse Mortgage. A reverse mortgage may be able to ease any financial strain that these situations have caused.