Senior citizens have often been exposed to physical, mental, emotional, relational, and financial forms of mistreatment on a daily basis.
In this blog, we describe 6 Fraudulent Scams that are specifically targeted at seniors, common ones nowadays utilize technology to gather information that can be used in harmful ways.
Since the older generation is not as “up-to-date,” on the latest technological advances, financial scams are becoming a more prominent form of abuse along with the easiest to pull off for many swindlers.
Monitoring our loved one’s actions while on-line may be a very effective way to stop them from being the next victim of financial exploitation.
Below are a few of the internet scams that the older internet user needs to be aware of so they are not deceived in handing over their retirement funds, financial security, or identity. Learn what to watch out for!
Royal Flush Phishing Scams
Phishing scams still operate in the same way as when the original scammer sent a fraudulent email claiming to be the royalty in need of financial assistance. If you get an email in your inbox claiming to be a royalty member from a rich family, and they need you to send them financial help so that they can get the money that is rightfully theirs, they are trying to scam you.
If you send them hundreds or thousands of dollars or whatever they request from you, they claim in return will send you half their million-dollar fortune or inheritance. This is ALWAYS a scam. Don’t even waste your time responding, if you are going to do anything, forward them to the Federal Trade Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This type of scam also will claim you’ve won the lottery or a sweepstake to accomplish the same goal (scammers say you are a lucky winner of the lotto or drawing, but that you need to send money to cover the taxes before you can get paid......) But you’re not getting paid.
Phishing For Banking Info Scams
Phishing scams are getting much smarter and more common. Have you ever received an email from your bank requesting you to update your user profile or user information? If you have, you may want to double check that was really from your bank.
Phishers typical use email addresses that are off by one or two letters so a @keybank.com email address would say @keybonk.com, for example.
Then, when you click the link, rather than getting directed to your bank (KeyBank), you get directed to www.3keybank.com or something to that effect. The site you get taken to will ask you for your personal information, your password, your social security number, and/or sometimes even your account numbers. Your personal and private information go directly to scammers.
Phishing For Personal Info Scams
Similar to the one above, scammers will establish fake websites and email accounts that look nearly identical to common services that people use, such as email or social media sites. Then, they deliver an email asking you to up-date your profile or user information. Finally, they use this information to steal your identity.
Medical Services or Device Scams
For seniors, medical services or device scams are spreading and becoming a more serious concern. While there can be good services offering assistance for seniors, there are many active scammers that offer services to elders that get paid without ever providing an actual service, or only provide one service, but bill Medicare for ten services.
Help a Family Member Scams
Often known as The Grandparent Scam, the scammers call someone they know to be elderly and instantly says, “Hi grandpa (or grandma), do you recognize my voice”? Eventually, they will mistakenly think that it is their grandchild.
Once the grandparent has fallen for the trick, the scammer will ask for money to be sent for some emergency, and it has to be kept between the both of them. In the past, these used to be telephone scams, with internet phone services, which are virtually untraceable, these scams have become more well-known.
An identical scam is seen in e-mail form from a friend or family member, and will, in summary, explain they are in a foreign country, or on vacation, and have either been robbed or lost all their money, credit cards, ID, and phone some other way. The email will then request for you to send money so they can eat, buy a ticket home, etc.
Home Improvement Scams
Sometimes rightful business owners scam seniors. Separate from merely overcharging for goods and services; a common scam involves selling home improvements that are not needed.
A handful of less-than-moral contractors, especially in states that do not require a contractor to be licensed, will knock on a home, sometimes impersonating a government inspector, then explain that work is required to be done by law. If this happens, contact a local independent contractor that can offer you a second opinion and estimate.
Always stay alert and sensible about the personal information or money you are sending to people you don’t know, and if it’s a family member, actually make sure the person you are communicating with is a family member.
If you are a victim of a scam, first contact the police and your bank, to file reports. Your bank may be able to reverse or cancel a transaction, and the police can further investigate or pass the matter along to the appropriate law enforcement agency.