It’s not news that seniors are particularly vulnerable to internet and telemarking scams, especially if they live alone.  Many of these scams are well documented.  Seniors are targeted because they hold the majority of the nation’s wealth, and scammers have picked up on what some refer to as “age-associated financial vulnerability” causing some seniors to be more susceptible to financial exploitation. 

Scammers, fraudsters, and all-around bad people are honing their exploitation skills by developing schemes to take advantage of the new pandemic.  Products are being sold to prevent COVID-19. (There is no vaccine.) Victims are sent emails claiming to be from the CDC and WHO with important updates.  Click on a bad link and a data-stealing virus is downloaded. Others purport to be charities in need of funds to support COVID-19 victims or research for a cure.

What can you do?  Be aware. Talk to your loved ones so you know how they’re spending their time while social distancing and warn them about these new schemes.   Prevention is key because financial exploitation does not have an easy fix. Scams and exploitation can be reported, and sometimes they are stopped, but financial recovery is extremely difficult.  The scammer may end up in jail, but it is tough for mom to recover her $100,000.00.

To report a scam or financial exploitation, the Department of Justice offers a helpful tool to identify resources:. 

For more information on COVID-19 scams, visit www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/coronavirus-scams-what-ftc-doing.