It is extremely important to protect seniors from scams since their trusting nature and vulnerability make them easy targets for scammers. We can tell you time and time again this has hit home. Not only to our loved ones but to so many seniors throughout the nation. Scammers prey on seniors and certainly seniors who are most vulnerable to scams. Typically they are isolated, lonely, and trusting. This can include seniors who are living alone, have limited social support networks, or have recently experienced a significant life event such as a loss of a spouse or a decline in physical or mental health.
Some scammers may use obituaries to find potential victims. Obituaries can provide scammers with information about a person’s family and friends, which could be used to target them in a scam. Scammers are known to use a variety of tactics to target seniors, including phone calls, emails, and mailings. They may pose as representatives of legitimate organizations, such as banks or government agencies, or they may use emotional appeals to convince their victims to send money or provide personal information. The FBI estimates that senior citizens lose more than $3 billion each year
The following tips can help seniors stay safe from scammers:
Educate seniors on how scams operate and make sure they are aware of them. Make sure they are skeptical of unsolicited phone calls, emails, or text messages, and that they should never divulge their personal or financial information to strangers.
Ensure their accounts are monitored:
Make sure seniors monitor their bank statements and credit card statements for unusual activity, such as unexpected charges or withdrawals.
Set up their caller ID:
Scammers often use fake caller ID information to trick people into answering their telephones. Set up caller ID on seniors’ phones so that they can screen calls and avoid answering from unknown or suspicious numbers.
Avoid responding to pressure:
Scammers use pressure tactics to entice people into sending money or sharing information quickly. Encourage seniors to take their time and not make any hasty decisions, especially if they are speaking with someone they are not familiar with.
Have a trusted contact:
Encourage seniors to consult a trusted family member or friend before making financial decisions.
Stay informed about the latest scams and share that information with seniors. A variety of resources are available, including the website of the Federal Trade Commission and the AARP Fraud Watch Network.
Report suspicious activity:
If seniors suspect they have been targeted by a scammer, encourage them to report it to the authorities. It can help prevent others from falling victim to the same scam.
Reviewing these tips with your loved ones can educate and protect them from falling victim to scammers who want to exploit their vulnerabilities and steal their money or identity. New threats and schemes targeting the elderly are launched daily so it’s important to be vigilant.