Protecting Your Senior Loved Ones from Common Scams
Financial scams targeting seniors have become so commonplace that they are now considered “the crime of the 21st century.” Unfortunately, senior citizens who are not very internet and technology savvy often fall prey to online scams.
Often it falls on the shoulders of loved-ones to inform seniors about common scams and help them understand how to protect themselves from scams and fraudsters.
The following are a few of the common scams targeted toward older people.
- Telemarketing and phone scams
- Email/phishing scams
- Door to door sales
- Investment schemes
- Medicare/health insurance scams
- Lottery scams
Below are a few tips to keep your elderly loved-ones protected from scams.
- Talk to them. Most importantly find some time to talk regularly and let them know about the common scams which are prevailing. Let them know that important agencies such as the IRS, banks, or charities will never ask for sensitive information by calling or sending an email. In fact, all important notifications and messages will be sent to them by mail.
- Do not discuss financial matters aloud in public places. Unfortunately, fraudsters and scammers can be found anywhere, and they have their eyes and ears open every time and are looking for prey. Therefore, do not discuss sensitive topics in public, where people can gather your financial information.
- Confidentially destroy discarded mail and documents containing financial information. Many people often throw away their mail without shredding it. If these documents are not destroyed completely then scammers and fraudsters can get ahold of important information and can then in the future, call and blackmail.
- Help seniors understand the difference between genuine messages, and scams or phishing. Let them know that they should not click on every link that pops up on their social media platforms. Doing so can install viruses on their computers, from which fraudsters can then gather their passwords and other personal information, which they will then use against them.
If any senior citizen suspects they’ve been scammed, they should seek help immediately. Often, waiting only makes the damage worse. Every state operates an Adult Protective Services (APS) program, which is responsible for investigating reports of elderly abuse, neglect, and exploitation.