Help Your Seniors Identify And Avoid Fraud Or Scams
Facing financial and social unrest or enforced changes and restrictions, people are most likely to look for unconventional and probably “miraculous” solutions for their troubles. It in many ways explains the tremendous raise of various scams and frauds in the past 3 years. But what is worse, statistically seniors tend to be the most common victims of financial fraud and confidence schemes.
According to open data from the FBI, every year about 100,000 senior Americans has to face some sort of a scam, losing about $3 billion altogether. It is a 74% increase compared to the pre-Covid times.
The situation has intensified so much that today frauds targeting senior citizens are officially acknowledged as a form of elder abuse.
In this blog, we shall talk about the reasons our seniors tend to fall victim to those schemes so often today and ways to identify and prevent scams so relatives and caretakers can take action on time and protect older people from financial losses and deep psychological trauma they can cause.
Why do seniors fall prey to scams so often?
There are several reasons why older people usually top the chart of fraud victims.
First of all, older Americans are often targeted by various financial scammers and identity thefts since they naturally have more assets such as real estate, retirement funds, etc.
Another reason is the rapid development of new technologies and the digitalization of the banking system. All these new trends are particularly hard to comprehend and embrace for senior citizens.
Last but not least is the fact that older people are less likely to report losing money to a scam. It makes identifying and preventing scams much more complicated, leading to more and more victims every year.
According to FTC, at least 44% of people between 20 and 30 years old are likely to report losing money to fraud. At the same time, only about 20% of citizens are over 70 years old would address the police or even admit to their relatives and friends that they fell victim to a scam.
The most common scams that target older people
The first step to protecting your loved ones from scammers is learning about the most common ways criminals are likely to target seniors today.
Some of these schemes are designed precisely for older people, and some appeared relatively recently, but all are well known to authorities and have their gruesome statistics of success.
Grandpa Scam – one of the cruellest scenarios as it targets directly old people`s emotions. Criminals claim to call/send a message on behalf of the victim`s children or grandchildren who are said to be arrested, get into an accident, or any other kind of trouble and require an instant money transfer to resolve the situation;
Technical support – scammers contact the victim through phone or e-mail, claim to be tech support staff of a bank, insurance company, etc., and require the personal information to update some data in the system. Similar fraud is very popular in social media as well and often gives scammers full access to the victim`s profile, passwords, and bank information;
Online Scams – these crimes vary from fake websites that look entirely like well-known marketplaces to pop-up browser windows that encourage download apps, which turn out to be viruses;
“Government” Scams – a senior gets a call, a letter, or an e-mail from IRS, DMV, Post Office, or any other government institution, which claims that they have been fined or owe some money;
Romance Scam – another pretty cruel and, unfortunately, particularly common scam aimed at seniors. A criminal creates a fake identity, establishes illusive romantic relationships with the victim online, and either manipulates the victim directly or fishes out personal information that can be used for blackmail, identity theft, etc.
These are only some of the most common fraud scenarios targeted mainly at senior citizens. Now let`s talk about how to notice that your older relative or friend is probably falling prey to a scam and protect them.
How to protect seniors from scammers
Relatives, friends, and caregivers, those people who spend the most time with the older person are the first and sometimes the only line of defense against criminals. Here are several simple ways to ensure that your beloved senior is safe and aware of the danger:
Digital literacy – most of the crimes against older people happen online today. Explain to your older relative how to recognize and avoid identity theft and other online crimes. Talk to them about the importance of password management and antivirus, the danger of suspicious apps and websites. Share videos and articles about various scams and encourage them to let you know in case they are contacted by someone unfamiliar online;
Account Oversight – ask a bank to send regular statements or alerts about suspicious operations with a senior`s account to a trusted person;
Spending limit – if you are concerned about your older relative`s financial decisions, you may set a monthly or even daily spending limit on their credit card. That way you will at least minimize the losses even if a senior eventually falls prey to a crime;
Hire a responsible caregiver – a professional caregiver will not only supervise daily routine but also pay attention to the senior`s behavior, notice when they get distressed, behave unusually, or become secretive;
Be present – after all the best way to protect your older relative from scammers is to be present in their lives. That way you will not leave a chance to suspicious “new friends” and easily notice and prevent any fraud or suspicious activities before they turn into a disaster.
Unfortunately, scams a designed to catch us off-guard. Anyone can fall victim to such a crime. However, the more trustworthy people are involved in a senior`s life, the more attention they pay to their behavior, and emotional state, the fewer chances various scammers stand.
Here at Sunflower Home Health Care Services, we know how important it is to be there for our older citizens, assist and support them, and treat them with care and respect so they know they always have someone to trust and rely on. Contact us today and get professional services from our team to help you take care of yourself and your beloved ones.
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