AARP, CFPB and U.S. Bank experts warn of financial scams targeting older adults during COVID-19

June 23, 2020 | GET MORE : Social Responsibility

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The bank recently hosted a webinar to help older adults and caregivers protect their finances

SOMEONE YOU KNOW HAS BEEN INFECTED BY THE CORONAVIRUS.

PLEASE CLICK ON THIS LINK TO FIND OUT WHO: _______.

Please DO NOT click on that link, says Jay Haapala of AARP.

In a webinar hosted last week by U.S. Bank, Haapala spoke about how fraudsters have been using the COVID-19 pandemic to target older adults with financial scams that can be simple or sophisticated. 

“These fraudsters are trying to prey on the uncertainty and unknown of COVID-19,” he explained. “Typically, just as a means to steal money or personal information.”

Haapala was joined on the webinar by Erin Scheithe of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Brett Frederick of U.S. Bank. Having taken place as part of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, the panel-style event was designed to help older adults and family members protect themselves against this growing threat. 

“Many of these scams have existed for years but now have greater power amid this time of crisis,” said Scheithe, adding, “and these scammers are smart.”

In addition to the contact tracing phishing scam mentioned above, Scheithe and Haapala said that they have seen a number of other frightening pandemic-styled scams popping up, including: 

  • Selling phony tests, vaccines or treatments
  • Offering to pick up groceries or run other errands
  • Marketing imposter websites with supplies
  • Asking for donations to fake charities
  • Pretending to be a family member in trouble
  • Pitching fake jobs or get-rich-quick schemes
  • Taking advantage of isolation through romance

With the ever-changing opportunistic nature of scams, Scheithe offered a timeless piece of caution, saying, “It is so important to be careful whenever you are contacted by someone who you do not know.”  

She added that talking about experiences can raise awareness and decrease the stigma of being victimized. 

“The more we talk about these things with friends and family, the more we will be able to recognize them,” she said. “We can change the conversation from ‘I fell for’ to ‘I almost fell for.’”

To listen to a full replay of the webinar, please click on the following link – which, we assure you, is secure: https://financialiq.usbank.com/index/manage-your-household/protect-your-assets/webinar-elder-fraud-protection.html.

Written by Pat Swanson of U.S. Bank.