With the holiday season now among us, it is important to keep in mind that scams will be at their highest due to the time of the year. Scammers know more people will be spending money around November and December for gifts and traveling, so they will be out in full force to try to trick people into giving them their money instead.
Anyone who has been on the internet for an extended period of time or owns a mobile will know that scammers have unfortunately become a part of daily life. From robocalls to fake ads, it affects us all. However, studies show that these scams disproportionately affect the elderly population, and they lose billions of dollars annually to this. These studies show that seniors who were between the years of 1920s - 1940s, depending on which way your perspective leans, are more naive or trusting to these digital scam artists. In this article we’ll briefly discuss why or how it happens but more importantly, how to prevent it.
Robocalls also known as Scam Phone Calls
One of the main reasons is that they fall victim to imposters of government entities such as Social Security Administration, IRS, Medicare, or other assistance programs who threaten them to give up private information or revoke services for non-payment. Second reason is because many elderly citizens live alone and are isolated so they may become susceptible in their seeking of social interaction. The last common reason is that they may have dementia or some other form of memory loss.
These scams come in various different formats and can be very difficult to filter out if you don’t know what to look for. Furthermore, they can be divided into two different categories; internet scams and email scams. Internet scams can look like pop-up ads, fake websites, fake ads, fake deals and more. These scams usually take you to a website that looks similar to another familiar website to trick people into paying for products or services they will never receive. Email scams are typically known as phishing. Phishing is the act of using fraudulent communication correspondence in hopes of you sharing personal information that can lead to identity theft or financial fraud. Many email or text scams come in the form of sweepstakes or lottery winnings, government entities, or free products. As for the information they want from you, it can be credit card numbers, account numbers, physical address, social security number, account login credentials, and the list goes on.
Ways to prevent your loved on yourself becoming a victim to phone and internet scams:
- If your loved one has a mobile phone, make sure that the calls settings are set to filter spams, verified calls, and the caller ID is set up properly. With these three, you should be able to get rid of most robocalls.
- If you have access to their bank account, keep a close eye out for any extraordinary purchases or new subscriptions/annual withdrawals.
- Keep them informed and remind them of the current methods of potential scams that we mentioned above; phishing, robocalls, fake ads, fake websites, copycat websites, scam calls, pop-up ads, etc.
Remember that scammers do not discriminate against who they will take money from. To them, their victims are faceless as they usually never see the person who they are committing crimes against. These preventative methods that we shared are helpful for everyone, young, elderly, or otherwise.