Minnesota consumer groups fight to protect seniors from fraud

Consumer groups in Minnesota continue their efforts to protect older adults from fraud and identity theft.

A scam involving new Medicare cards is the latest trick being used by some con artists to convince older people to share identifying information. (Pixabay)

Jay Haapala with AARP Minnesota said people over age 50 show a greater interest in learning about identity theft and scams and, “Are fascinated by the way these con artists are operating, kind of like watching a crime drama on TV. But also, we’re all very worried about making sure we protect our finances. So many people have worked their whole life to scrape together a little bit of savings, and these con artists are coming after it.”

Because older adults are perceived to have financial “nest eggs,” Dan Hendrickson with the BBB in Minnesota explains they’re a highly targeted demographic for fraud. Many con artists will spend time developing relationships and trust with an older person, especially those who are isolated or lonely. “It is kind of the last of the trusting generation, he said, “They grew up in an age where people could be taken at their word and things could be taken at face value. And unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in anymore, and these scammers are both persistent and dedicated.”

Haapala said a new scheme involves scammers who call and say they need to verify information for the new Medicare cards that are coming out, “So of course, they’re asking for people’s Social Security numbers and dates of birth and other personal information. Even in some cases, scammers are calling saying some money is owed before a person can receive their new Medicare card. But it’s all a scam.”

He explained that the new Medicare cards will be arriving in the mail soon, and for recipients, no payment or information verification is needed.

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