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Older adults may be hard hit by the coronavirus – and scammers prey on that. If you or someone you know must stay at home and needs help with errands, you’ll want to know about this latest scam.

Scammers are offering help with errands, and running off with your money

If you’re an older adult or a caregiver for one, you may need help picking up groceries, prescriptions, and other necessary supplies. If someone you don’t know offers to help, be wary. Some scammers offer to buy supplies but never come back with the goods or your money. It’s usually safer to find a trusted friend or neighbor or arrange a delivery with a well-known company.

If you’re ordering supplies online, know who you’re buying from. Online sellers may claim to have in-demand products, like cleaning, household, and medical supplies when, in fact, they don’t. Use an established delivery service, or order directly from the store. Many grocery stores and pharmacies are offering contactless delivery. If you need additional help for yourself or a loved one, the Eldercare Locator, a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, can connect you to services for older adults and their families. You can also call 1-800-677-1116.

Are you also helping to manage someone’s money?

If you’re helping with basics, you might also be managing money for someone and can’t be with them because of social distancing and quarantines. If so, here are some ideas:

  • Check in by phone or video chat. Stay in touch to know how they’re handling things – and so they know you’re thinking about them.
  • Ask questions. If your loved one mentions concerns about money or spotted unusual activity in their accounts, ask for details. Older adults and their family members can learn about common types of scams, as well as how to avoid and report them by checking out the Pass it On and Money Smart for Older Adults programs.
  • Financial caregivers: learn more about your responsibilities. The CFPB’s Managing Someone Else’s Money guides can help you understand your role as a fiduciary. Each guide explains your responsibilities, and how to spot financial exploitation and avoid scams.

Help keep everyone safe from scams

Help spread the word and keep those you care about from falling for a scam, regardless of their age or health status. If you spot a scam, report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

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4 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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jchip
April 07, 2020
I received an email yesterday that supposedly was from Netflix . They asked that I respond to the phone number listed below because my account profile needed to be finished. I contacted Netflix. It's a scam.
ELSIE LARIVIERE
April 07, 2020
ON 4/6 MY BANK ALERTED ME OF UNUSUAL ACTIVITY ON MY ACCOUNT. I CALLED THEM IMMEDIATELY CONTACTED THE BANK, DISPUTED THE (3) WITHDRAWALS (2) $25.00 (1) $75.00. I WAS CLUELESS WHO THIS PARTY WITDRAWING MONEY FROM THIS ACCOUNT. I DISPUTED THESE (3) TRANSACTIONS. THE BANK PUT A REMOVAL ON THIS & NOTIFIED IT WAS A FRAUD
Faisal Aziz Bhatti
April 07, 2020
I am adding here some words that scammers are not only doing these foolish things to older people but also with other people from any age.They are scamming also in the fields of helping you buying face masks,hand sanitizer and other preventive health products online to get your credit card details and once you make the payment,you won't notice them online again. This must also be noted while fighting against this critical situation.
Jeanniebeanie
April 07, 2020
I keep getting emails from Amazon wanting me to update my account, but when you rest your mouse pointer on the sender, it comes up with a ridiculous email account. Same with UPS wanting to deliver a package that I never ordered, they want me to update my account too. Just rest your mouse pointer on the sender and you will get a good idea who you are dealing with. If nothing pops up, you know right away it is a scam. Be careful.