AZAG: Seven most common scams and schemes targeting seniors

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5 File Photo) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 File Photo)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Financial predators are always coming up with new ways to target victims into giving them money. Citizens that are 60 or older are at a higher risk of falling prey to these scams and schemes, leeching from the retirement funds and savings of those who don’t deserve it.  

The Arizona Attorney General, Mark Brnovich, wants Arizonans to stay vigil and educated on the threats these online frauds can cause.

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“Online scams can be incredibly damaging to individuals and families, especially if their retirement savings are stolen,” warns Brnovich.

The AZ Attorney General’s Office offers a free online “Senior Tool Kit” that can help identify and prevent all types of scams and fraud that may harm your savings and future. You can find the site by clicking here.

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An example of the kind of help the site offers include the seven common online scams to avoid:

  1. Phishing scams: If you receive an email requesting personal or financial information, do not respond. Immediately call the bank or company directly to verify account activity.
  2. Tech support scams: If you are told a computer has been locked and you are asked for personal information or access to your computer, do not comply.
  3. Emergency email scams: You receive an email from someone who claims to be a family member in trouble. Get as much information as you can to ensure you have confirmed their identity before you consider providing financial assistance.
  4. “You won the Lottery!” scams: A scam artist may contact you online through a web page, email or your social media accounts saying you have won a lottery, drawing, or other prize, and you need to wire an initial sum of money or send a pre-paid gift card to collect on the full amount of your winnings. Remember, lotteries do not contact you.
  5. Pyramid schemes: A moneymaking scheme is presented to you that requires you pay a fee to a person and recruit others who will pay you. These are very prevalent in social media and may involve close family members and friends you think very highly of. Avoid them at all costs. Only a few people on the top make money off the thousands of people below them in the pyramid.
  6. Free vacation, dinner, flight, etc. scams: If you are offered a fabulous deal online, remember that nothing is free. Even if you do get that dinner, it is likely to be followed by a two-hour time-share presentation you were previously told nothing about.
  7. Sweetheart scams: Scammers convince their victims that they are in love and use emotions to manipulate money from unsuspecting people they meet online. Do your homework and look into the background of the person with whom you are considering becoming involved. Beware if the person asks you to wire them money or send a pre-paid gift card. These are common tools of scammers.

You can visit the Arizona Attorney General’s Office website at www.azag.com for more consumer protection tips and news on scams.

If you believe you have been the victim of consumer fraud, please contact the Attorney General’s Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6648, or outside the metro areas at (800) 352-8431.  

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