BBB can help seniors avoid scams

There was a time when a man’s word was all it took for a deal to be made, a loan to be granted or a promise to be kept. Those people still exist in our world today, but unfortunately these days we cannot count on everyone’s word to be true. We have to be cautious of whom we trust and be sure that person’s intentions are sincere.

It is a shame that our most trustworthy Americans, our senior citizens, are a target of many financial scams today. The Better Business Bureau of Cleveland has recognized this with a program called Senior Awareness Initiatives. They send out quarterly alerts of recent scams to senior housing facilities, in-home health care services, senior centers and other agencies that service our area’s older population.

Some of the most common scams that are reported are foreign lotteries, home repair or improvement, telemarketing, email phishing, phony charities and investment or healthcare scams. Scare tactics are commonly used with these scams such as insisting you act now or your opportunity will be lost. A legitimate program would never demand such urgency.

Never provide any personal identification numbers over the phone or email unless you first check with the Better Business Bureau. By calling 1-800-233-0361, you can get reliability reports on companies, learn if charities meet BBB standards, request assistance with consumer complaints or obtain member lists by an industry. Or visit to be added to their email mailing list and receive quarterly senior alerts.

The BBB reported a recent IRS phishing scam: An email with the IRS name and logo informs recipients that they are eligible for a tax refund. The message encourages them to click on a link and log into the IRS website to complete a form. Of course, the link leads to a third-party website that downloads a virus on to recipient’s computer.

The BBB’s recommended steps to take:

  • Do not reply or click on the link in the email
  • Forward fake IRS emails to
  • Delete the email

Kristi Vaughn

I am a Licensed Social Worker and owner of Adult Comfort Care Services-Bay.

Read More on Senior Living
Volume 4, Issue 5, Posted 1:32 PM, 03.06.2012