Safer Retirement Travel
June 15th is Elder Abuse Awareness Day: Avoid Travel Scams with these Expert Tips
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PHOENIX – 2022’s update from the World Health Organization shows elder abuse rates had risen 6% from 2020. The most prevalent form of elder abuse is financial, and it costs Americans more than $36B per year. Older Americans have earned the right to live life confidently, and the data shows they are ready to get back on the road now that COVID risks have subsided. The majority of adults age 50+ who are traveling can avoid common scams with these safety tips.
Recognize Common Scams
Scams are intended to confuse or trick the victim. A common scam involves you taking someone that does not belong to you. If someone tries to hand you souvenirs, a dropped wallet, or luggage you might be encountering a scam. Before taking anything, you should know what you are getting into. “Ask questions, do not claim things that are not yours, and feel free to walk away from someone who makes you feel uncomfortable.” Says Isaiah Lopez, Founder of OZZI Global Safety. “Simply saying ‘no thank you’ can help you avoid getting involved in a situation you would rather avoid.”
Romance scams are also common and affect older adults around the world. Dating apps and the power of the American passport make it easy to meet new people online and in person. The signs of a romance scam are rushed romantic proposals, asking for cash to pay emergency bills, or having a sudden problem that requires you to travel overseas. “In the online world, it is easy to exit a browser or block a contact. In the real world staying safe can be a little more of a challenge.” Says Lopez. “Take things slow and never transfer any money to an online love interest – you will not get it back.”
Certain areas around the world are known for specific types of scams. You can use the OZZI Safety App to find out which scams are common in the places you want to visit. OZZI empowers you to separate fact from fiction.
Scammers take advantage of kindness. If someone tries to hand you something or asks for money politely, but firmly, tell them ‘no, thank you’ and move on. Setting boundaries is not rude and can help you avoid most scam attempts.
Never Send Money to Strangers
It can be difficult to say ‘no’ to those in need, so use extra care when meeting new people online. They may want you to send money or visit them as an extortion trap. These are typical scams and can have dire consequences.
Tips to avoid being Scammed
- Never send money to someone you have only met on the internet.
- Do not disclose personal information like address, full name, or SSN over the phone or online.
- If someone claims to be in an overseas emergency, refer them to the U.S. Embassy or local first responders.
- Research your destination before you go so you understand the risks.
- Be aware that something that seems too good to be true usually is.