Common Internet Scams & Their Languages

With the world at our fingertips, it has become even easier to fall victim to online scams. Over the years, there have been many scams, and have evolved to trick people into participating. Once people fall victim to these scams, they can lose their identity, and/or up to thousands of dollars. People think that seniors are targeted and fall for these scams, but the reality is that these scammers target all age brackets.

Studies have shown that younger people between the ages of 20-30 reported losing money to fraud up to 40% more often than older people. However, when older people age 70 or higher was scammed, the median loss was higher than younger people.

Internet scammers only target is our money, and there is nothing that will stop them from trying, not even spyware.  Make sure to familiarize yourself with common scams in order to avoid falling for them and losing money. Common language that should tip you off is phishing, pharming, and 419s just to name a few. Also focus on how these charities, IRS, fake family or friends are asking you to send money. This includes wiring money, putting money on a gift card or cash reload card.

Phishing Emails

A lot of times, scams will come as an e-mail with an attachment, or from a company asking for information.
A lot of times, scams will come as an e-mail with an attachment, or from a company asking for information.

This is the most common internet scam. It usually includes an attachment that once it is clicked on, gives access of your computer and finances to scammers. Sometimes these emails will look like it has come from an official source like a bank or company trying to trick you into giving them valuable information.

These emails will tell you there is an urgent matter like your bank account is threatened and you need to access the link and fill out your information. These scammers will then use the information to access your real account and take out money.

Lottery Scam

A lot of times some of us have experienced a pop up stating “Congrats you’ve been chosen to win a prize,” followed by a spin of a wheel of prizes.  Other time it will be a message or email stating you’ve won a lot of money. However, in order to retrieve it, you must enter your information, or you must pay a “processing fee” to get your winnings.

Fake IRS Call

Lately, especially around the time to file your taxes, there will be fake phone calls from the “IRS” trying to scare you to paying money due to tax fraud. These scammers impersonating IRS officials have targeted more than 2 million taxpayers, many of them losing up to $2,000. Hang up as soon as you get these calls, and if you have concerns regarding your taxes, call the IRS.

Scammers will call you claiming to be an IRS agent demanding payment.
Scammers will call you claiming to be an IRS agent demanding payment, or a distressed call that a relative needs your help.

Romance/Distressed Family Member Scam

A lot of people find dates on the apps or through online dating websites. Some of the time, after building a “relationship” with you, they will begin to state they are going through some issues and need money. Other times, you will get a fake phone call that your grandson is in jail. Or they will say your family member was kidnapped and in order to help them you must send money. Be wary of these scams and call your family member to make sure they are okay, and if you cannot reach them, then call the police.

419 Scam

A popular internet scam is the email from a wealthy Nigerian family. The email says that the family has a lot of money to offer if you help them get it out of the bank. These are also known as the 419 scam because it refers to the section of Nigerian Criminal Code that deals with fraud.  Delete the email if you see it to avoid losing money. Once you send some, they will keep asking for more with promises of a lot of money in return.

Make Money Fast Scam

Scammers will try to lure you in by making you believe you can make money fast. These scammer will ask for your information so that they can start you on their “payroll” and you can start making money. Do not fall for these get rich quick schemes or pyramid schemes that promise you a lot of money in a short amount of time.

Familiarize yourself with popular scams to protect yourself and your hard earned money. Scammers will try everything to try and get money from people unaware of everyday scams. If it seems like it is too good to be true, that’s because it is.

Protect Yourself, Know How to Spot Medicare Card Scams

Starting in April 2018, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid services will be issuing new Medicare ID cards to Medicare beneficiaries. As stated on their website,, the new cards issued will not have the beneficiary’s social security number on them anymore to “prevent fraud, fight identity theft, and keep taxpayer dollars safe.”

Instead, the new cards will have 11 randomly generated numbers and uppercase letters. This new ID is called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier.

Due to these changes, there is a rise in scams, because scammers know it is easy to scare seniors into giving up their information.

The government has warned people to keep an eye out for scams when they are choosing between plans. Regional director of AARP Foundation, Amy Nofziger stated that “criminals will always use current events to confuse and victimize unsuspecting consumers, and this applies to the Medicare open enrollment period.”

Scammers will pretend to be the IRS to get your information.
Scammers will pretend to be the IRS to get your information.

These criminals will pretend to be a Medicare representative. They will ask you to verify your social security, birth date, Medicare number, and address, in order to receive a new card. They will then use your social security number to open credit cards, apply for loans, or file fake tax returns.

It is important to know that there is no cost for a new card. Medicare will never ask you for personal information to receive one. You will not have to do anything to get a new card. To protect yourself, it is crucial to be aware of the tactics these scammers are using.

Phone Calls

Because social security numbers are being removed from cards, scammers will be calling even more than usual.

A legitimate agency would not call anyone to ask for their social security number in order to issue a new Medicare card. There are no “official Medicare agents,” because Medicare does not have any sales reps.

Medicare will usually mail you unless you call or email them. Nofziger added that Medicare will never call and ask you for personal information like bank accounts or credit card numbers.

If someone calls you trying to sell you insurance, scare you about disabling your benefits, or charging you a fee for the new card, then they are a fraudster.


Scammers will tell you that changes have entitled you to a refund in order to get your information. Medicare does not call or ask for any information. Medicare will send you a check directly with an explanation of the refund if you are owed any money.

Part D Plan Requirement

Medicare prescription plan, Part D, is not a requirement to have Medicare. Scammers will call you and tell you have to join a Part D plan if you want to keep your Medicare benefits.

Be aware of these scams, and if you are contacted by a scammer claiming to be from Medicare, Social Security, or the IRS, you can report it at

Identity theft can happen to anyone and cause a lot of stress.
Identity theft can happen to anyone and cause a lot of stress.

Other Scams To Be Aware Of

Some other scams to familiarize yourself with are the different scams on the internet. These can come in the form of an email, an illegitimate website, or on social media. Scammers will send you an email pretending to be your bank or the IRS asking you to update or verify information. Banks and the IRS will never do this, so if you see it, do not respond and make sure to call your bank or the IRS first.

One of the newer tactics used by scammers is social media like Facebook where they will message you with an enticing offer to invest in something. Or a scammer will have made a fake account of one of your current friends, and message you asking for money due to an unfortunate event. If your friend is in need, do not wire them any money before calling them and confirming it is actually them and they are in need of help.

Protect yourself

Be wary of dating website scams, this is common for seniors. A person you might have met on a dating website will talk to you and then over time create a scenario where they need your help financially here and there. Do not fall for these scams, as it is only an attempt to get money from you without any intention of a relationship.

Whenever you log onto the internet, make sure to practice internet safety. Do not take the “bait” from scammers whether through email, FaceBook, dating websites, or sweepstakes promising big winnings. Create a strong password for everything, and do not share it with anyone. Make sure to verify whoever it is you are speaking with over the phone even if they claim to be relative or friends. Contact any company over phone if you received an email or message asking for information, and never provide your information unless you know the website you are on is legitimate. These tips will help you avoid scams and give you a sense of security.