There are many scammers nowadays, and they now have a new target; the elders. A report submitted by the FBI has confirmed that the elderly have lost more than $ 1 billion to scams in 2020. Then numbers are shocking as more than 100,000 over 65 years lose an average of $ 9175 annually.
It is important to know about financial scams so that you may protect yourself and the people surrounding you. There are different ways through which scammers can use, but one of the most famous and fruitful ways nowadays is the digital pathway. This article will teach you what to look for, how to protect seniors, and what to do in case of a scam.
Why Seniors May Be The Target Of Scams
Seniors are normally the number one target for scammers; here are the reasons why;
1. They are more trusting.
2. More vulnerable.
3. Less likely to report incidents.
Old people are less likely to report fraud as they are often ashamed, and they think that it is a sign that they can’t take care of themselves and their freedom will be taken away from them.
Scammers also know that most older adults have their retirement cash and good credit.
Common Digital Scams Seniors Face
1. Confidence Fraud And Romance Scams
In these scams, scammers are often found on social media or dating sites, and they use older people’s emotions and feelings to get what they want. Old people are more fragile when building new bonds; they are quick to trust.
It is more geared towards people facing loneliness, so they are desperate to form new relationships. Scammers normally take their time to build and solidify the relationship before asking for money or persuading them to buy gifts.
2. Identity Theft
Identity theft is very common, not only among the elderly. 33 % of adults have already experienced identity theft at least once. Scammers proceed by these three methods;
Pharming suggests seniors visit certain websites that look similar to legitimate websites, often banks or sites where you need to provide your data. They will be asked to provide their personal information, such as passwords or bank account numbers.
Phishing; This method implies using emails. Messages are created to lure them into revealing information. Victims may receive a message telling them they have a problem with their account or it will expire, and they will be encouraged to click on a link.
Smishing; This is the same as phishing but is done via text message or SMS. False messages supposedly from reputable companies are sent to victims. The messages may encourage seniors to reveal personal information, pay money out, or click on suspicious links.
3. Non-Payment Or Non-Delivery Or Fraudulent Products
Online shopping is more prevalent now than ever before because of the pandemic. It seems to be a great thing how they do not have to expose themselves to the virus, and it is also easier for them, but it opens up a world of facilities for the scammers.
The Elderly will order products or even groceries online via fraudulent sites. They will never receive the products or receive damaged goods.
4. Tech Support Fraud
Most of the fraud is based on seniors being unfamiliar with the digital world. A simple click can make you believe you have viruses on your phone or computer. They may require you to call a number to get rid of the virus- they may charge for their ‘services’ or even ask for your personal information.
We invite you to read part 2 of this blog where we discuss the different ways to protect seniors of being scamed and what to do if ever it happens. Let us know in the comments if you have elderly in your surrounding that have been scammed…