Learn how you can help protect your loved one from senior scams like fraud, scams and identity theft with these 12 tips from the experts at Elite Care at Home.
Protect your loved one from senior scams like fraud and identity theft. Fraud is a big problem for seniors who have less understanding of what’s going on online.
Scammers are becoming more and more sophisticated in the ways they trick seniors into giving up their money or personal information. In this guide, we will share some tips to help you protect your senior loved ones from all of these things!
Types of Senior Scams
ROMANCE SCAMS: Criminals have been posing as interested romantic partners on social media or dating websites to take advantage of the elderly. These criminals capitalize on their victim’s desire for companionship and often request money from them in order to keep things going with the relationship. The scammer will then ask for even more money, eventually asking so much that they get everything out of a person before disappearing completely!
TECHNOLOGY SCAMS: In light of recent events, it is important now more than ever to be aware when providing personal information online because there are many ways scammers can use this against you as well such as downloading malicious software onto your device which provides remote access into your computer where sensitive data could also potentially be stolen including passwords and banking info while performing fake tech support services.
SOCIAL MEDIA SCAMS: Scammers are also becoming more and savvy when it comes to social media. One example of this is the fraudulent posting that someone will be having a “lottery” or giveaway with prizes in order for people who have liked, commented on their post etc., they would receive some sorta prize but what actually happens, is that the scammer collects personal information and tries to convince the senior to give up account numbers to collect prize money.
GRANDPARENT SCAMS: Scammers are getting more creative with their tactics and they have even gone to the lengths of impersonating family members in order to take advantage. Some scammers will pose as a child or grandchild claiming that he/she needs money because there is an emergency.
GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS: Other scams involve people posing as government officials who threaten you with arrest, prosecution, etc., if you don’t pay them some funds upfront for your freedom (e.g., taxes).
PLAIN OLD SCHEMES: Still other scams are just old-fashioned schemes, such as the Nigerian Prince email scam where someone promises that you will be rewarded for helping him get his money out of Nigeria. The lottery or giveaway is a new twist on an older scheme called “advance fee fraud.”
LOTTERY/MONEY SCAMS: Sweepstakes, charity and lotteries are seen as good ways to get potential victims who want a quick buck. Criminals will often claim they work for legitimate charitable organizations in order gain trust of their targets or those that believe it is too tough out there so why not take the easy way?
HOME REPAIR SCAMS: Criminals will come to your house and charge you for home improvement services before they even start.
IDENTITY THEFT: This is when someone pretends to be you by using your personal information for fraudulent purposes. One way this can happen is that people get scammed into buying a bunch of expensive stuff and the criminals just take their money but never ship anything.
TV/RADIO SCAMS: Criminals target potential victims using illegitimate advertisements about legitimate services, such as reverse mortgages or credit repair. They do this in order to take advantage of people and make them lose their money so they can pocket the profit for themselves.
The bottom line is this: Criminals are out to make money, and they’re finding new ways every day. It’s up to the consumers – whether that be seniors or anyone else in general-to protect themselves by educating them about what scams look like so we can all stay safe!
Senior Scams Prevention Tips
TIP 1: Be careful when opening emails and attached files.
Protect your personal information by avoiding suspicious emails. Avoid opening attachments from unknown senders and be careful about what you download to avoid the risk of downloading malware onto your computer or mobile device.
Open your inbox and see what type of messages you have. If it’s a family member, friend or co-worker then the email attachment is probably safe to open but if not should be avoided at all costs!
TIP 2: Monitor your Financial Accounts Regularly
You always need to be careful about your identity when it comes down to money. Where do you start? First, contact your financial institution and put protections on all of the accounts that they have access too. Second, monitor those accounts for suspicious activity to make sure nothing is going wrong since someone may already know what bank account numbers are yours.
Tip 3: Be aware of phone calls, mailings and door-to-door services offer from strangers.
When you receive an unsolicited offer, be cautious not to give or send personal information like your social security number or money in order to avoid a scammer who is out there waiting for victims. If someone ever asks for this type of sensitive data over the phone without verifying themselves as being a legitimate company do not provide them with it because they might just be trying to steal what’s rightfully yours.
Tip 4: Take Your Time, Don’t Rush Decisions
Resist the pressure to act quickly. Scammers create a sense of urgency in order to produce fear and lure victims into immediate action. Call the police immediately if you feel there is danger to yourself or loved ones, do not fall prey!
Tip 5: Malicious Software – Shut Down The Internet
Disconnect from the internet and shut down your device if you see a pop-up message or locked screen. You will avoid malicious software by disconnecting yourself from any outside influences, as well as make sure that no one can access your browsing history which may contain private information about you and those close to you. Enable pop-ups blockers so there is never an accidental click on something they shouldn’t be clicking on in order for their devices not become infected with malware.
Tip 6: Make Sure Security Software is Up-To-Date
You know the old adage, “prevention is better than cure”? If there’s one thing you should do to protect your computer from hackers and viruses it would be to make sure that all of your security software and anti-virus are up-to-date. Don’t let an outdated password leave a digital door open for anyone with malicious intentions.
Tip 7: Never Give Put Personal Information to Someone You Do Not Know
The best way to avoid identity theft and fraud is to be vigilant. Never give or send any personally identifiable information, money, jewelry, gift cards, checks or wire transfers without verifying that you’re talking with a reputable company first!
Tip 8: Do Not Pay Anyone Using Gift Cards or Wire Transfers
Many scammers rely on a soft, gentle voice to lull you into submission. They’ll often insist that the only way for them to receive your money is by using gift cards or sending back cash via wire transfer services like Western Union and MoneyGram. Don’t fall prey.
Never pay someone who insists you pay with a gift card or by using a money transfer service and never deposit any check if they ask for their funds in return.
Tip 9: Make Sure a Trusted Family Member is Aware of Large Financial Decisions or Purchases
Making large purchases or financial transactions may happen for a variety of reasons. It’s always a good idea to make sure a trusted friend or family member is aware of what’s happening. It never hurts to have a second set of “eye-balls” review a financial decision that might have a large impact.
Tip 10: Make Sure Seniors with Beginning Stages of Dementia Have Someone with Them
Sometimes this is a hard call. However, if you know that your aging loved-one may be in the beginning stages of memory loss or confusion, consider having a companion in the home during the week to help around the house.
Home care companions can identify odd phone calls, door-to-door salespeople, and other potential scams like mail fraud that might be happening with your senior. Companions can report back to the family caregivers about potential problems with phone callers and mail.
Tip 11: Bill Paying and Financial Services for Seniors
If you are a long-distance cargiver, and are unable to visit your loved one regulary, you might consider hiring a reputable bill paying service to manage their money.
These professionals typically have a financial services background and specialize in monitoring transactions and information about that senior’s accounts. They can report any odd behavior or irregular spending. This is a great way to help your senior avoid senior scams.
Tip 12: Never Pay for Home Repairs (Roofing, Painting) in All Cash, Upfront
When it comes to large household repairs after large storms or wind damage, we wary of senior scam artists who arrive on the scene to “fix” the damage for a cheaper price- if paid upfront. These scammers will take the senior’s money and never return. Always consult your insurance company or a trusted family member for major home repairs, and never pay in cash upfront all at one time.
What would you do if your grandparents were being taken advantage of by a scam artist?
A recent FBI report found that 1 out of every 10 Americans age 60 or older has been the victim of some sort of financial fraud. Victims are often targeted because they tend not only to be more trusting but also have higher incomes and assets than other adults in their age group. The law enforcement agency is urging everyone who may know someone in this situation to quickly take action before it’s too late! You can contact an agent at the local field office for assistance, file a complaint with our online tool here https://www.ic3.gov/, or submit any additional information on firstname.lastname@example.org
What Should I Do If My Aging Loved-One is Being Scammed?
The safest way to avoid false claims is by reporting them. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wants seniors and their caregivers to be aware that the U.S Senate Special Committee on Aging’s Fraud Hotline can help protect you from suspicious calls, like those requesting money or personal information in exchange for a promised prize, gift certificate or other valuable items. If your father/mother gets one of these suspicious phone calls call 855-303-9470
If you detect a senior scam, call your local police department to file a report immediately. Also, when it comes to senior scams, check your financial accounts immediately and change passwords. Alert your financial institutions ASAP.
If you or an aging loved-one could benefit from an in-home senior companion in the Miami or Broward areas, please call the experts at Elite Care at Home today.
Serving the Broward, Miami-Dade & Monroe Counties since 2009. Call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! (305) 231-0555
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