A new scam that offers the allure of adding to a fixed income has the potential to put otherwise law-abiding senior citizens and any other potential victims on the “naughty list” this year, officials said.
A new scam that offers the allure of adding to a fixed income has the potential to put otherwise law-abiding senior citizens and any other potential victims on the “naughty list” this year, officials said. In the Money Mule Scam, criminals advertise or directly offer their targets lucrative work-at-home jobs as “money-transfer agents.” These ads usually state that an overseas company is seeking local representatives to act on their behalf to avoid high transaction charges or local taxes. The fake employer then persuades victims to deposit money into their own bank accounts, then transfer the funds to the employer’s account in exchange for a commission, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.. In reality, the scammer is transferring money obtained illegally through identity theft and other criminal means. They use the senior’s legitimate bank account and information to make the money appear to be legally earned when transferred back into another account. Without realizing, the victim is now part of a criminal enterprise. Prosecutors with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office offered the following tips:
- if a high-paying work-at-home job sounds too good to be true, it likely is.
- independently research the person or company offering work before agreeing to take the job.
- if you believe you are a victim, stop transferring money immediately and notify law enforcement.
The D.A.’s Office frequently puts out alerts for fraud and scam targeting senior citizens. Their site also offers a list of warning signs that people should be aware of:
- There is unusual activity, such as withdrawals or new names added, on the person’s financial accounts.
- The senior suddenly appears confused, unkempt and afraid.
- Essential bills are going unpaid.
- A caregiver will not allow others access to the senior.
- The residence contains many sweepstakes mailings, magazine subscriptions or free gifts. This may indicate that successful con artists previously have victimized the senior.
- A senior discovers there has been a change in his/her will or power of attorney designation that he/she did not authorize.
- A senior appears to lack necessities or amenities, such as clothing and grooming items, even though he/she has the means to afford such items.