Over two million elders fall victim to scams every year with many more going unreported. The average loss for victims over eighty years old is near $2000. To protect the savings of our elderly parents, it is necessary for us and them to be aware of the techniques being used. Below are the four most common scams.
- The most popular scam is calling the elderly as a representative of Social Security or another governmental program. In order to receive extra benefits, many elders will grant the scammers access to their accounts. It is important to know that the government agencies associated with these programs will never call to sell something or ask for personal information.
- Many lonely elders are more likely than one would think to shower online love interests with thousands of dollars. This money can be difficult to get back. In order to keep one’s loved ones protected, a periodic review of their financial records and possibly becoming the power of attorney on their accounts can help identify this scam.
- Another very effective scam is threatening a grandparent by demanding ransom for a grandchild or other close relative. This scam, on average, robs elders of $9000. Elders are advised to remain calm when receiving this call and to confirm the situation. After discovering a scam, one should report the phone number to the local police.
- Phishing is a way for scammers to call and receive access to the personal information of vulnerable elders. Elders should call the institution directly in order to confirm the legitimacy of the supposed offer and become more cautious clicking on unfamiliar links.
In order to protect more elders from these relatively successful scams, it is important to engage in dialogue about these popular scamming techniques with loved ones. Many elders become embarrassed and hide the fact they were scammed. Family members and friends must ask questions and ensure that the victims feel comfortable sharing the details of the scam to prevent more fraud in the future.