The FBI estimates that seniors lose over $3 billion to fraud every year. Many of these frauds are committed over the phone. What can you do to keep yourself safe?

First, be aware of common scam trends like the following:

Medicare: The thief asks for your personal information to send you a new Medicare card.

Grandchild Scam: Someone calls claiming to be your grandchild in trouble. They ask for money and want you to keep it a secret.

Government Agencies: You are threatened that your social security benefits will be canceled. 

You can see how these calls are designed to create an emotional response. When we feel a sense of crisis, we may respond without thinking. That is how criminals take money from intelligent people.

The following tips can help you protect yourself from phone fraud:

1. Make sure your phone’s voicemail is set up and maintained. 

2. Do not answer the phone unless you know who it is. Any legitimate caller will leave a voicemail.

3. Do not believe the Caller ID. Phone numbers can be spoofed, which means your caller ID will display a local number no matter where the call comes from. 

4. If you notice yourself having an emotional response to a call, slow down and take a breath. Ask yourself what you really know about the caller. Do not provide or confirm personal information! 

5. Hang up. Do not call any number the potential scammer gave you. If you have a concern, locate a phone number for the caller, whether that is Social Security, Medicare, or your…

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