Scammers are one of the worst criminals out there. They prey on targets they deem easy. New technology, easy access to information and loneliness, seniors have become easy prey for scammers. The best way to prevent becoming the victim of a scam is recognizing the kind of scams that are out there and what to look for.
A popular scam is a long lost relative calling for money. Although it sounds like a no brainer, this happens a lot because of the largely removed families scattered all over the world. As families grow, sometimes the members move far away. Due to social media and phone books, it is possible for the scammer to take your information from the web or from family members’ profiles to appear more legitimate. If this happens you can take preventive measures and contact other family members and ask if they know this person.
Investment schemes are one of the leading scams that target seniors. Because seniors are retired and trying to manage savings, the allure of making fast money to care for their family is appealing. The scammers try to contact them by masquerading as a volunteer or a member of an organization they belong to. Investment schemes usually try to sell timeshares or penny stocks.
Another form of investment schemes focus on medications that haven’t been FDA approved. Cancer curing schemes are popular as well. Never accept medication that isn’t prescribed by your doctor. After being a target, the victim may be ashamed and embarrassed that they fell for the scam, or they may not know who to report it to. There is no shame, fraud happens to people of all ages.
Email scams can be difficult to identify. The hacker can tack on a virus to an email and then a false email that mimics an official institution is sent. The virus is released by opening the email. After the email has been opened up, the hacker can then navigate through your files, they can take pictures, login information to bank accounts, websites, and other details can help them steal your money. Once they have your personal information they can even steal your identity.
This is one of the easiest forms of hacking but can also be prevented. Never open an email if you don’t recognize the sender’s name or email. Your bank will never try to reach you through email to get personal information. If there is a problem with your bank account, they will reach you by phone. If you see an email you weren’t expecting from a company, call them and ask why they are trying to contact you. All communication has to be documented in master servers and they will be able to tell you if they were trying to reach you.
These are just a few forms of fraud that can happen to seniors. The FBI has a specific hotline meant for reporting scams and frauds. You can also contact your local sheriff office and ask if they offer any educational courses or information about how to prevent fraud. By reporting the crime, you are preventing it from happening to many other people and protecting your family from future harassment from these scammers.