In today’s world, we are constantly interacting with financial scams, whether that be through the phone, internet, or mail. These coercive schemes are continuously adapting to be more creative, which makes them increasingly dangerous. Older adults are often specific targets for scams as many folks may not be as comfortable with using technological platforms, therefore falling into traps more easily. Seniors are also more vulnerable to loneliness and isolation, which scammers may use against them. Financial scams can be devastating to older people and their families. It is estimated that elders lose around $3 billion each year to such financial scams.
Below you will find an explanation of a few common scams to look out for. This list is certainly non- exhaustive but is a great place to start when thinking about this prevalent issue.
- Computer Support: Because older people are less likely to be familiar with using their computers and smartphones, many will fall into “computer support” scams. Oftentimes a popup will appear, telling a viewer to call a number for tech support. After calling the number, and paying a fee, the Senior is left without the tech assistance and loses their money.
- Grandparent” Scam: This scam aims to manipulate the emotions of the victim. Someone will call or email a grandparent pretending to be a grandchild. They will then ask for money and request that the grandparent stays silent.
- Romance: Many older people experience loneliness and a desire for companionship. A romance scheme will trick an individual into believing they have a romantic or friendship relationship with the caller/emailer. After a rapport is built, the caller will begin asking for money. This type of scam is very common, with an estimated $84 million being lost in 2019.
- Phishing Emails/Texts: Phishing emails and texts often disguise themselves to look like legitimate companies. This can be very dangerous, especially if someone just gives a quick glance to their email. Be careful with opening attachments or clicking on links from emails you are not expecting.
- Phone Scams: Phone scams can come in a variety of forms. From people pretending to be from a government agency or a company saying your car warranty is expiring. Do not disclose any personal information to these callers, as some attempt to record your voice in addition to getting your money.
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