WASHINGTON (12/10/15)--Scammers are likely to ramp up efforts to prey on individuals, particularly seniors during the holiday season. According to a blog post by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), scammers may start to incorporate the holidays into elaborate stories used to appeal to seniors for bogus charitable contributions or help for relatives in need. And that, the CFPB warns, is just one method used to prey on individuals’ generosity.
The common “grandparent scam” phone call can be tailored to a holiday plea, where elderly individuals are called at random and the caller claims to be a relative in need of immediate financial assistance to get home for the holidays.
Scammers claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service and demanding payments might threaten individuals that they will spend the holidays in jail unless they pay bogus unpaid taxes or a fake debt.
Imposter charities also often spring up around the end of the year. They can involve requests for year-end, tax-deductible donations, and then the payment information is used for fraudulent purposes.
CUNA and several of its member credit unions participated in a conference call in July with the CFPB about ways credit unions can help prevent elder financial abuse. CFPB officials reached out to CUNA and credit unions seeking information on their experiences with these scams.
Credit Union Magazine also published a story in October about various scams targeted at older Americans, and how credit unions can play a role in preventing these scams.
The National Credit Union Administration has dedicated a section of its MyCreditUnion.gov website to information on combating elder financial abuse.