An 88-year-old woman is one of the latest victims of the sweepstakes scam. She lost $160,000 in order to get the millions the scammer claimed she’d won through the Publishers Clearing House. She’s not alone. This scam has been around for years and has affected tens of thousands. Be aware of the six signs of a scam to avoid losing money.

The Caller Insists You Not Tell Anyone

In a scam, the caller will insist that you cannot tell anyone. This is more likely to happen with the grandparent scam. The caller will say that the grandchild’s parents cannot know. Secrecy is important to the “grandchild.” If your parents are told not to tell anyone, it’s very likely a scam. Your parents should immediately report the scam to local authorities or the FTC at 1-877-382-4357.

The Contact Arrives Out of the Blue

A scam is going to start with a random call, email, or unsolicited mailer. Your parents didn’t enter a contest. It could be a scammer posing as a police officer, IRS representative, or lawyer who calls out of the blue. The IRS and police departments will not try to collect money over the phone.

The Money Must Be Sent Immediately

Debt collectors, tax collectors, police officers, etc. will never demand payment be made immediately. You’ll get official notices via the mail with information regarding the debt, taxes, or fines you owe.

The Payment Can Only Be Made Using a Gift Card, Cash, or Wire Transfer

Any demand that payments be made using gift cards, wire transfers, or bundles of cash that’s sent via a courier is a scam. Gift cards are one of the more common scams, but the bundles of cash request is becoming popular.

Winnings Will Only Be Sent Once You Send Money to Cover Taxes

There is no law requiring taxes on a lottery or sweepstakes to be paid in advance. You’ll never be required to pay the taxes first and then wait for the prize money to arrive. If you’re told that’s how it works, it’s a scam.

You Must Share Bank Account, Credit Card, and/or Social Security Numbers

Never share bank account information, credit card numbers, or SSNs over an email or the phone with a random caller. You also cannot assume a person calling and claiming to be from your bank or credit card company is from that company.

Hang up and call the number found on the bank’s website or the back of a credit or debit card. Ask to speak to an account representative to verify the call was legit. If it was, you can then handle the matter during your call.

Hire caregivers to help your parents manage calls, emails, and postcards they receive. Caregivers also provide companionship, which might keep your parents from seeking conversation with a stranger.

When you are in need of care for a senior loved one, consider caregivers provided by Golden Heart Senior Care. We have offices nationwide. For more information, call us today at (800) 601-2792.