· 12 Common Senior Citizen Scams You Need To Know. 1. The Grandparent scam. How it works: The grandparent scam is a type of social engineering attack in which fraudsters Talk to your senior about being skeptical, and watching out for dating scams, fake profiles, hackers and identity theft attempts. Older adults can even visit the straight forward U.S. · Scamming the elderly is a multi-billion dollar business for people around the U.S. that drains the elderly of their retirement funds and government benefits. The Orlando AARP Warns Senior Citizens About Romance Scams and Internet Fraud Fighting fraud and scams has become the quest of many. People who have been victim in the past and ... read more
While most people on these services are there to find a potential date, online dating scams are becoming a real problem. Catfishing is a catch-all term for the practice of setting up fake online dating profiles to scam unsuspecting people.
These phony dating profiles are often, but not always, set up by someone overseas. The profile will probably look legitimate because these scammers often steal photos and names of real people and carefully craft the profile to make it seem like a real person.
This person may contact you over messenger on the dating service, and over time you might develop feelings for them. Just when it is time for you to finally meet them in person, something will suddenly come up like a death in their family or the inability to buy a plane ticket. Some dating scams involve relationships that are built on phony intentions. You might meet someone and start a relationship with them, not realizing that they are really just after your money or looking to find a free caretaker.
Seniors especially are at risk of scams aimed at getting ahold of their savings. It is also not unusual for older men and women to look for partners in their later years who are a bit younger and healthier than themselves.
Sometimes this is totally innocuous, but occasionally it reflects an ulterior motive to have a reliable caretaker as their own health declines. They may type poorly or in broken English, even though they claim English is their first language. This is a sign that the profile might be run by a scammer located outside of the country. Of course, this is not necessarily a red flag if they tell you English is not their first language. They may not agree to talk on the phone or on a video chat.
Join a reputable dating website: If you want to try out online dating, join a reputable website like SilverSingles or OurTime. It is a way to stay busy and to bring new emotions to their lives. While grandma or grandpa may seem totally content, they are often alone and can be seeking a partner, just as with any adult.
Life goes on. According to recent data published, there are million singles in the United States. Now, let´s put aside the thoughts on grandma having a romantic conversation, and focus on what´s important: her safety. Teaching seniors how to be safe from online dangers is one of the best gifts you can give them. At this stage in life, being a victim of fraud or scam can be utterly devastating and a financial train wreck.
The truth is that there are internet criminals targeting seniors everyday. Remember that computers arrived late in the lives of many senior citizens. Many have learned how to manage it perfectly well, but others might still be struggling to keep up with the fast changing technology.
They might not be aware of the high risk when talking about personal data, such as date of birth, address, and other information. Senior citizens are also more likely to open a suspicious email, click on a link or open a file that is sent from a criminal posing as the perfect date.
The possibilities for fraud are endless. Take some time to teach your mom or dad, or older friend, what to look out for, and urge them to be cautious about anyone they meet online. Talk to your senior about being skeptical, and watching out for dating scams, fake profiles, hackers and identity theft attempts. Older adults can even visit the straight forward U. government web portal on dating scams to learn how to identity the red flags.
Unfortunately, online scammers often can easily take advantage of senior citizens. In this article, we will go over each of the above online scams, telling you what they are and what to look out for. You can also read about other types of financial scams targeting older adults that are not necessarily online here. The following scams are all Internet-based. Phishers present themselves as someone the senior can trust, which often makes elderly people fall for the scam.
Then, the phisher convinces the senior or other victim to pass along their most sensitive data. This can include computer passwords and usernames, your social security number, credit card information and debit card PIN numbers, or sometimes even bank account numbers and account access information.
Most phishing scams involve the use of instant messaging and email spoofing. Phishers will disguise themselves as IT administrators, online payment processors, banks, auction sites, social media platforms, and any other source elderly individuals could believe.
They also are adept at creating fake websites that look exactly like the real thing. A great example of this is the Wells Fargo phishing scams that have circulated more than once in recent years and lured thousands of unsuspecting people to take the bait and give up their sensitive information.
In this type of fraud, the phishers created emails that looked very close to the ones that could be generated by Wells Fargo. The email tells people they have been locked out of their Wells Fargo account, therefore they should click the link provided in the email immediately, in order to verify their account. You can bet that many people have jumped on that and clicked the link not knowing it was a type of scam.
Remember that clicking on ANY link in an email could mean you are unknowingly downloading malware or viruses. Often, clicking a link gives the scam artist access to your account or personal information, particularly if you are asked to log in to something like a bank account after you click the link. To protect seniors, family members should advise them to never click on an email link.
They look so real, in fact, that I had a hard time resisting clicking on the link in the text. Thank goodness I did, because it would have possibly given the scammers access to my financial information. Any combination of these red flags means your senior should ignore it. If it makes them feel better to confirm that the text is fake, they can get the phone number of the REAL company from a statement or invoice NOT the one in the text message!
and call Customer Service to ask if any texts have been sent to them. Is your elderly loved one looking for love? If so, both you and the senior must stay abreast of the so-called sweetheart swindlers, also known as online dating scams. These scammers hide behind the guise of online dating. The con artist goes on about how much they want to meet the elder and are ready to travel to wherever the senior lives.
The problem is, they just need a little bit of money to get there. The trap is set and the poor elder ends up wiring some money for a trip that will never take place. Over time, swindlers will ask for hundreds, if not thousands of dollars from their victims. Not all at once, though — that may look too suspicious, but they will gradually lead the person they have targeted deeper and deeper into their snare.
And, because the victim is lonely, they often gladly open their checkbooks. Catfishing also involves online dating, but not in the same capacity as the sweetheart swindle. Then, they claim they are that person. Sometimes money exchanges will happen with a catfishing scam, sometimes the scammer is after personal information and identity theft.
Aside from personal losses, your senior risks a broken heart if they take up with an online catfish. According to the Consumer Federation of America or CFA , the Grandparent Scam goes like this….
A person posing as a family member or close friend gets in touch with the senior. They request money to cover some type of an emergency. For example, they might pose as a grandchild and say they were at a club and accidentally taken to jail, so they need bail money. Maybe they would act like a grandchild who went to another country on Spring Break and was robbed, so they need airfare to come home.
You get the idea. To complicate matters even more, those involved with the Grandparent Scam will often ring the senior late at night. UPDATE: Scammers are now using voice-cloning technology, so you may really believe that your child or grandchild is talking! Read this article to see how easy it is for scammers to use a voice that convinces you it is your relative. If your senior ever does a bit of Internet shopping, they could fall into an online shopping scam.
With one of these, the scammer makes a retail website that looks just like the real deal. My elderly neighbor fell for this one recently. This often leads unsuspecting users to click on the ad which generates income for the company that owns the web browser.
Not realizing her error, she called the fake company. Thinking that she was talking to a legit employee, she explained her computer issue. The fake tech support person then told her he would have to take over her computer via remote access, in order to see what the problem was. What if he had my bank account information or could get into my credit cards now? She spent the rest of the day on the phone with the police, her banks, and her credit card companies — closing accounts and getting new credit cards issued.
I should tell you that this is not someone who is computer-illiterate, either. I have a few older friends who have fallen for tech support scams. The senior is contacted either by a phone call or a pop up on their computer screen. The story is almost always the same…. The message or the caller claim they are a technical support person and that there is some problem or attempt of fraud on their computer or personal information bank account, financial account, insurance, etc.
Older adults have to be aware that there are hundreds of ways they can lose their retirement funds to scammers. The best way to avoid becoming the victim of a scam is to refrain from clicking on links in emails or texts. Esther Kane is a certified Senior Home Safety Specialist through Age Safe America. She also graduated from Florida International University with a BS in Occupational Therapy.
She practiced OT in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina for 10 years. She specialized in rehabilitation for the adult population. Her expertise in home assessments and home safety issues for seniors will help you to make the best possible decisions for your elderly parent or senior that you are caring for. Para espanol. View all post by Esther Kane Website.
Skip to content Menu Close 8 Online Scams Taking Advantage of Seniors Esther Kane Security. Share This Article. Table of Contents. image courtesy of Wells Fargo. Image courtesy of Wells Fargo. About the Author: Esther Kane.
AARP Warns Senior Citizens About Romance Scams and Internet Fraud Fighting fraud and scams has become the quest of many. People who have been victim in the past and · Scamming the elderly is a multi-billion dollar business for people around the U.S. that drains the elderly of their retirement funds and government benefits. The Orlando · 12 Common Senior Citizen Scams You Need To Know. 1. The Grandparent scam. How it works: The grandparent scam is a type of social engineering attack in which fraudsters Talk to your senior about being skeptical, and watching out for dating scams, fake profiles, hackers and identity theft attempts. Older adults can even visit the straight forward U.S. ... read more
According to a report from the Federal Trade Commission FTC , senior citizens are actually more likely to report scams than younger people. Scammers realize this and take full advantage. Source: FTC. Skip to content Menu Close 8 Online Scams Taking Advantage of Seniors Esther Kane Security. The rising cost of prescription drugs has put a squeeze on seniors, who tend to take more of them than the average person. They can sometimes get very creative about what they tell you the money is for. You could ask in a way so it sounds like you are trying to make future plans.Many also suffer from depression or anxiety. Some dating scams involve relationships that are built on phony intentions. The senior online dating community is expanding every year, online dating scams seniors, and according to Match. Online dating scams seniors have had their identities stolen, been victims of blackmail and extortion, and even more serious crimes. Oftentimes, the reasons quickly become more and more elaborate as well, such as emergency medical care for a relative. The process is really quite easy.