Statewide Partnership Expands Free Fraud Prevention Programs

Karly Hurley

| 3 min read

Fake reviews, “the ticking clock,” phantom riches and the promise of life-changing prizes. These are all just a few of the most common forms of fraud officials are seeing across the state of Michigan and beyond. Fraud is far-reaching and often costly.
Unfortunately, seniors have become a prime target for scammers on the internet. According to the latest BBB© Scam Tracker Risk Report, adults aged 65 or older are at a greater risk of being targeted for home improvement, online purchase and cryptocurrency scams compared to other age groups. These individuals are also more likely than other age groups to report losing money or revealing personal information when contacted by a scammer via phone, email or text messages.
That’s why prevention and education are critical for safeguarding your personal information, financial assets, digital profiles and especially your personal health information. While digital tools like virtual appointments or apps to help manage conditions can help expand access to care and information, it’s important to be alert for potential scams. Knowing digital platforms and tools increase options for care and health information for seniors, Blue Cross is partnering with the Better Business Bureau to offer a series of free community presentations focused on helping older adults learn ways to protect themselves from financial fraud.
These presentations give attendees valuable information about local scams and tactics used in fraudulent activity. They also will provide tools and resources consumers can use to protect personal health information and prevent becoming a victim of these common scams. Attendees will learn the most popular ways scammers try to take their money and information and see the scam in action using real life examples from the Better Business Bureau.
This series of Red Flags of Fraud presentations are free to the public because of the support of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Signup for events across the state are available through the links below:
March 6, 2024: Portage Senior Center
March 13, 2024: Holland Hospital PHO
April 10, 2024: Boyne Area Senior Center
April 17, 2024: Charlevoix Senior Center
If you are unable to join a presentation, keep these helpful tips in mind to avoid scams and fraud:
  • Become familiar with common scams targeting older adults. Knowing the most common tactics used to target older adults can help you more quickly identify when scams occur.
  • Emphasize the criminal nature of telemarketing and email fraud. Help your loved one learn how to identify it and help them understand that these tactics are illegal. In participating, it is possible they could be pulled into criminal activity unknowingly.
  • Encourage the person to ignore email, texts, phone calls and messages that appear suspicious. Don't reply to or click unfamiliar links within emails or text messages.
  • Have a calm discussion about securing accounts and monitoring finances. Helping older adults monitor their finances can be a great way to prevent scam activity and identify if it has occurred.
  • Help the person change their phone number or email address or passwords. If constant calls continue, changing the person's phone number may be worthwhile. Registering the number with the national Do Not Call list is a great first step, although scammers won’t necessarily follow the Do-Not-Call list laws. If unsafe calls continue, it may be best to change the phone number.

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MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association