Phone Scams Targeting Seniors

According to the FTC, financial fraud totaled $5.9 billion in 2021, but the real cost may be much higher because many victims are too ashamed to come forward.  In fact, younger adults report fraud losses more than older adults, but when seniors are targeted, they lose much more money. 

Catching the elderly off-guard over the phone is a tactic employed by many scammers. 

Fraud criminals use emotional triggers and persuasion tactics to influence seniors to make emotional decisions to hand over their money, rather than logical decisions.  Often they use the element of urgency and surprise.  The take-away from our conversation is, don’t volunteer credit card, bank account, or personal information over the phone.  Account numbers, credit card numbers, social security number, date of birth; in general any numbers,,, do not give them out over the phone or email.  The following are some examples of how criminals may reach you in the privacy of your home, over the phone. 

  1. Fake Amazon Calls: Makes up 1/3 of all business imposter calls.  Ignore calls, texts, etc. about suspicious account activity, raffles or unauthorized purchases.
  1. Tax Imposters: Impersonate law enforcement and tax collection to get you to share personal information or send money to settle a “tax debt”.  Ignore calls, IRS does business by mail, won’t ask for bank information and won’t threaten to arrest or deport you.
  1. Grandparent Scam: The scammer will say something like, “Hi Grandma”, the “grandchild” will ask for money and beg the grandparent not to tell anyone.  (Jail bond, car repairs, etc.) Do not stay silent about it, hang up the phone, call family/grandchild to verify.
  1. Charity Scams: Capitalize on current events, natural disasters, or use a name similar to a legitimate charity.  Don’t donate immediately, if asking for gift cards or a money transfer this is a red flag. 
  1. Sweepstakes & Lottery Scams: Claim to have won and a fake check is sent to the victim, by the time the check is rejected, they will have collect “fees or taxes” from the victim.  There’s no such thing as a free lunch!

Our Caregivers can help seniors to pinpoint potential scams and answer questions when there is suspicion of scams!

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