It’s easy to feel like there are scammers everywhere. From phone calls and recorded messages to texts, emails, and even in-person interactions, disreputable people are always finding new ways to trick people.
Most younger people can spot a scam when they see one. However, because scams are constantly evolving, aging parents and grandparents are much less likely to recognize what’s going on. To make matters even worse, scammers know that older people are more trusting and easier to victimize, so those are the populations they usually target.
Losing their savings or other assets can be incredibly devastating for seniors, most of whom can’t reenter the workforce and replace what they’ve lost. Thankfully, many seniors have younger family members or friends that can keep a watchful eye out for scammers. Read on to find out how to help.
Teach Seniors to Identify Common Scams
Most seniors don’t even realize they are at risk of falling prey to scammers. Teaching aging loved ones to identify common forms of fraud can encourage them to take appropriate precautions to protect themselves. Some of the most common types of scams targeting seniors include:
Calls and Emails Involving Family Members
Because seniors don’t always understand how easy it is for strangers to obtain basic personal information about others, they may be less wary than necessary about communications allegedly involving family members. Scammers often pose as children, grandchildren, or other relatives needing bail money or immediate access to cash for another emergency. Advise aging loved ones to reach out to another family member if they get phone calls or emails from unknown sources regarding supposed family emergencies.
Lottery and Sweepstakes Winnings
Some scammers who target seniors pretend that their victims have won lotteries or sweepstakes. The idea of becoming a big winner is appealing to almost everyone, so many seniors let their guard down. At this point, the scammers ask for money to pay the taxes on the supposed winnings.
This particular scam is especially common online, but it can also be perpetrated by phone. Teach seniors that this is a common form of fraud and remind them they will not win any lotteries or sweepstakes without first entering them.
Threats of Penalties or Arrest
In recent years, many Americans reported fraudulent phone calls supposedly coming from government agencies. These phone calls usually consist of pre-recorded messages about arrest warrants or other potential penalties and attempt to elicit personal or financial information.
The messages may sound credible, but local courts don’t call people to request the payment of fines over the phone. If an aging loved one needs proof that the message is from scammers, not the government, ask him or her to call the local courthouse.
Emails About Subscription Accounts
Email scams are just as common as phone scams, and they can be even harder to detect. In this case, the scammers are usually using a technique called phishing to get the information required to commit identity theft. The emails claim that there’s a problem with the account, then redirect users to a form that requests personal information.
Ask to see any emails supposedly coming from Amazon, Netflix, or other subscription accounts and check the URL. Phishing scams are often quite elaborate and may use very convincing websites, so the best way to identify them is to check the URL against the official one for the website. Calling these companies directly is also a viable way to determine whether an email is legitimate.
Be Aware of New Social Connections
Not all scammers reach out to potential targets via phone or the Internet. Some perpetrate more elaborate scams by forming a false relationship with the target in person.
Of course, not every new friend or romantic interest is secretly trying to steal money. Younger friends and family members should still be aware that people can try to take advantage, especially of seniors living alone.
Instead of encouraging seniors to isolate themselves, which can lead to issues with depression and worsen the risk of developing many health problems, try looking into assisted living In Los Angeles, CA. Seniors in assisted living homes will be surrounded by a supportive community of their peers and will have all the opportunities in the world to socialize in a safe environment. This can reduce the chances of falling prey to scammers while simultaneously improving a senior’s quality of life.
How Terraza of Cheviot Hills Can Help
At Terraza of Cheviot Hills, we take our residents’ safety and security very seriously. Seniors residing in our assisted living community socialize safely and get the help required to maintain personal finances and avoid scams. Family members can get in touch online or call (310) 837-9181 to learn more.