A new trend in online fraud is a new type of scam. These scams are more sophisticated and involve fake fake check scams, fake lottery scams, fake estate scams, fake medical alerts and fake IRS scams. These scams target people with money who are gullible and vulnerable.
While senior citizens are among the most vulnerable in the population when it comes to online scams, the problem is much more widespread than many realize. In fact, a recent study conducted by the Federal Trade Commission found that 80% of the people surveyed had been the victims of a scam. The study further found that people in this age group fall for these scams more often than the general public, and that online scams tend to be more complex in nature.
One of the most common scams that preys on seniors is the “Free $50,000” and “Check Over the Phone” scams. These scams typically go like this: If you visit a website and indicate that you are a senior citizen, the website will offer you a “free $50,000 grant” or a “free $50,000 check.” You will then be asked to call the number on the website to apply for the grant or the check.
Scammers prey on the elderly in order to steal their money and/or identities, which is a sad fact. Scammers all around the globe have become more inventive in their attempts to defraud individuals of their money; nevertheless, these criminals mainly target the elderly. Scammers target the elderly for a variety of reasons, the most probable of which are:
- They are more patient and ready to listen than younger people.
- They may feel lonely.
- They have a higher level of trust.
- Scammers are well aware that they have a relatively stable income thanks to social security.
Scammers have become very inventive when it comes to preying on the elderly, particularly in light of recent technology advancements. Whether you are a senior yourself or know someone who is, it is critical that you be aware of the most frequent scams to avoid. It’s also critical that you understand how to prevent these frauds. This article will go through the top five most frequent scams that target the elderly, as well as what you can do to avoid them.
The Top 5 Scams Targeting Senior Citizens
Elders are often victims of frauds and theft, according to an expert who works for a business that provides in-home care for seniors. She reminded out that a single selfish con artist may ruin a senior’s whole life. This sad reality is all too frequent among aging people, but it may be avoided if you know what to look out for. Here’s what you need to know if you’re an older person and want to prevent getting conned.
Scams on the Internet
The most frequent frauds that seniors fall prey to are internet scams. Seniors are more likely to fall victim to an online scam because they are less digitally adept than younger generations. Thousands of online fraudsters are waiting for elders behind a computer screen. These online con artists use a variety of methods to defraud seniors out of their money or get access to their bank accounts. Some of these strategies are:
- Emails that are not real
- Instant Messages That Aren’t Real
Because elders are less familiar with contemporary technology, they are more likely to fall victim to online frauds. Scammers will often impersonate a key figure in a senior’s life, such as:
- Representative of the Social Security Administration
- A charitable organization
- Employee of a health insurance company
- Employees on Medicare/Medicaid
- The lending institution
- Employee of a bank
Scammers will send fake emails/messages claiming that the senior is in danger and needs to take immediate action while masquerading as one of these individuals. Typically, these phishing emails would ask for personal information, claiming that they need it in order to correct a problem. Unfortunately, many seniors will fall for these ruses and readily hand over their personal information, enabling fraudsters to access their bank accounts and other personal accounts in seconds.
Seniors may never recover from these frauds, and the scammers may never be apprehended since they are highly adept at obscuring any evidence that might be used to track them down.
2. Scams on the phone
Phone scams are another frequent kind of fraud that seniors are susceptible to. Phone fraudsters, like online scammers, will pretend to be someone significant in a senior’s life and warn them that they are in danger. Seniors will think that since they hear someone’s voice, they must be trustworthy, and will subsequently provide their personal information.
Phone fraudsters often use the “grandparent scam” in addition to masquerading as an employee of some kind. When a fraudster acts as an elderly person’s grandson and asks for financial help, it’s known as a twisted scam. The con artist will claim that he or she is in financial difficulty and urgently need money or access to their bank account. The senior will get panicked and will do precisely what the fraudster claims, handing over thousands of dollars or account access to the scammer.
3. Prizes/Lotteries that are fraudulent
Scammers target individuals of all ages, particularly given that they have such easy access to interacting with people via the internet. Scammers will call individuals, in this instance elderly citizens, and pretend that they have won a reward. Scammers often claim that seniors have won:
- Taking a vacation or going on a cruise
- A brand-new technology
- A car
- a device for the house
Seniors will unwittingly continue to “claim” their reward and give out personal information to this bogus individual after getting this mail. Personal information does not have to be limited to a senior’s banking information; it may also include information such as his or her birthdate, social security number, address, phone number, family members, and so on. Scammers may not always ask for banking information or money directly; instead, they will utilize other personal information to gain access to accounts and get passwords.
4. Counterfeit Anti-Aging Products
This is an all-too-common fraud, to the point that many people don’t think of it when they think of scams. Many businesses, even well-known ones like cosmetics lines, may advertise an anti-aging product and claim that elders would experience benefits. Companies/scammers will take advantage of seniors’ anxieties by claiming that their product would prevent symptoms of aging.
Scammers often offer the following bogus anti-aging products:
- Washing of the body
- Supplements and vitamins
- Protein bars and smoothies are examples of food items.
Seniors often fall for these phony anti-aging goods and fund the con directly. Alternatively, these goods may not exist at all, and fraudsters will just take the money from the elder.
5. Fake Medicines and Test Kits
Scammers will offer phony medicines and testing kits, similar to false anti-aging goods, knowing that elders rely on them. Scammers may readily offer phony medication and medical testing kits because of the world’s reliance on the internet. Seniors will notice that a certain medicine is less expensive than the one they are presently taking and will, of course, choose it. Unfortunately, fraudsters will not deliver the medicine to elders; instead, they will take their money or credit card information.
Seniors, too, rely on at-home testing kits and will shop around for the lowest price. Scammers will take money from another senior and never give them this kit since it does not exist. As the COVID-19 virus proves to remain here for the foreseeable future, this problem is growing more common. This abuse of elderly needs is upsetting, but it is all too prevalent. This kind of scam not only steals people’s money, but it also puts them at danger of getting incorrect findings if they receive a phony medical kit.
How Can I Avoid Being Conned?
You must remain informed if you are a senior or have a senior in your life. It’s important to understand not just the top five scams, but also how to avoid being a victim of one. Here are some simple precautions to take to ensure that you or a loved one does not lose money or their identity to fraudsters.
This is the greatest method to avoid getting scammed in today’s world, and there are many ways to do it. Check to see whether the website is reputable and trustworthy before making a purchase. Look up this website on Google to see what others are saying about it if you haven’t heard of it. If it’s a scam website, you’re probably not the only person who’s been scammed, therefore there’s a good possibility that other people have complained about their bad experiences with it. This strategy, which takes just a few minutes, has the potential to save both your life and your financial account.
If you get a message, e-mail, or phone call from someone or a business you don’t know, do some research on them. Determine whether or if this communication is genuine, and whether or not this person or business exists. For example, if you get an email stating that your social security is in jeopardy, investigate the message or contact the business directly. Alternatively, if you get a voicemail from your “grandchild,” contact him or her personally before taking any action, and confirm that he or she did really call you. When you do research prior to reacting to a possible scam, you are taking proactive steps that may save you thousands of dollars, as well as worry and irreparable harm.
Ask the individual who is approaching you questions once you’ve done your investigation. Inquire about how they obtained your contact information and what they are searching for. If they claim to be from a business, such as an insurance company or a bank, contact the company directly to check if they are aware of anybody with this identity and to verify whether or not what they are saying is genuine.
Ask yourself some questions in addition to the ones you ask the person or business. Is it reasonable for this individual to contact me? Is it true that I entered any competitions or lotteries? Is this the first time I’ve heard from this company? People, particularly elderly, are often so taken aback by these phony frauds that they fail to ask themselves these basic questions.
Make sure you’re not too trusting.
Finally, the greatest method to avoid becoming a victim of a con is to make sure you aren’t too trusting. Of course, you want to see the good in others, but be careful not to be naïve. Make sure you ask questions about anything you’re not sure about, and think about if you’re being scammed. This is true for all scams, but it’s especially essential for ones that play on your emotions, like the “grandparent scam” or the “false anti-aging goods fraud.”
Before you go ahead and provide any sort of personal information, try to think about what makes logical sense in different circumstances.
As a Senior, Stay Safe From Scams
Make sure to exercise care when it comes to avoiding fraudsters while you go about your daily activities. Scammers are more prevalent than most people realize, and they have the potential to make seniors’ life even more difficult. Scammers don’t care about anybody else’s well-being except their own. If you’re a senior, keep these pointers in mind to keep yourself safe from con artists. Alternatively, if you are not yet a senior, these tips will help you navigate through life knowing that you are one step ahead of the fraudsters since you are acquainted with their methods.
We have all heard about “advance fee” schemes that fall into the category of “The Latest Online Scams and How to Avoid Them”. Victims are told they will receive huge sums of money if they send money to a “relative” overseas. They are told the relative is dying or has needs that cannot be met without the funds.. Read more about elderly getting scammed online and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the two most common scams to steal from seniors?
The two most common scams are the Grandparent Scam and the Nephew Scam.
How can elderly prevent scams?
Elderly should be aware of the warning signs of a scam. They should also know that they have rights to ask for help from law enforcement if they feel threatened or unsafe.
How do you protect seniors from telephone scams?
There are a number of ways to protect seniors from telephone scams, but the most important thing is to be aware of what is going on. If you suspect that someone is trying to scam your loved one, contact their phone company and ask them for advice.
This article broadly covered the following related topics:
- what to do if your elderly parent is being scammed
- scamming the elderly law
- senior scams 2018
- scams targeting seniors
- senior scams