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Latinos in the U.S. had the highest labor force participation among seniors, making them increasingly vulnerable of a variety of scams Annie Spratt/Unsplash

Latinos in the U.S. had the highest labor force participation rates across age categories 55 or older, 65 or older, and 75 or older, compared to White and Black people, according to a recently published report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (ERBI).

This marked a significant shift in the workforce, compared to earlier years. In 2000, Latinos had some of the lowest participation rates in the U.S. workforce, while White people saw some of the highest.

But while some seniors may be working to make ends meet, they are increasingly becoming prime targets of scams and financial exploitation, a new report by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) shows.

According to the study, millions of Americans lose significant portions of their life savings to elder financial exploitation, losing about $28 billion collectively each year.

While oftentimes distancing oneself from technology and other forms of media to prevent being contacted by scammers is not enough, awareness of the growing issue is imperative, AARP argues.

Here are some of the most common scams targeting seniors in the U.S. today.

Scams from alleged relatives

In these scams, a fraudster calls the victim, claiming to be a grandchild, a child or another relative. Using voice altering technology, it can become difficult to recognize the voice to be an electronic one, especially when they claim to be having financial issues or other safety issues like kidnapping or a legal hardship, and in need of help, La Opinion reports. These types of scams are highly common in Latin America and are becoming increasingly frequent in the U.S.

To avoid this type of scam, La Opinion recommends immediately hanging up, and then checking on the family member the scammers alleged to be. Experts also recommend setting up key words and phrases to know when emergencies are real and when they are scams.

Fake service agent or representative scams

In these fraud attempts, scammers pretend to be agents of different services like Social Security and Medicare. They request personal information, including their Social Security number, bank account numbers and passwords. If they are not provided, scammers threaten victims with arrest or suspension of payments.

To avoid these scams, it is important to know that representatives of federal agencies do not make direct calls to beneficiaries. That means if someone calls you saying they are one, it is most likely a scam. Similarly, IRS and Social Security Administration representatives never request personal information over the phone and do not threaten legal action or demand money.

Caregiver scams

According to La Opinion, these types of scams can sometimes be the most dangerous, because they are not necessarily related to phone calls. Because many seniors are in need of caregivers, it is relatively easier for scammers to pass off as these agents, which gives them access not only to their personal information, but also their financial ones.

Experts recommend that at the time of looking for a caregiver, to conduct an exhaustive background check on them. Something important to look out for is that candidates have a caregiving license and come from an accredited company. If necessary, ask for references and contact previous employers.

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