Protecting Your Elderly Family Members From Scams
For senior citizens who may not be as tech-savvy as the rest of us, online and phone fraud are big issues. Today’s scammers are more devious than ever, and they continually come up with new ways to trick seniors out of their money and information. Here, we’ll offer a few simple tips to protect your elderly family members from common scams.
Now more than ever it’s important for people living in assisted living homes in Simi Valley to be careful when sharing their information online. Not only can scammers use that information against someone, but they may also install malicious software on a user’s device, stealing their data and money.
Social Media Swindles
Like everyone else, con artists are becoming more social media savvy. For instance, someone may post about a giveaway or sweepstakes for those who like or comment on their posts. In reality, there’s no prize, but the scammer will come away with a senior’s bank account number and other information.
Scammers are getting more creative and devious. Now they’re impersonating relatives and claiming to be in trouble. Some rip-off artists pose as grandchildren or children claiming to need bail money or emergency funding. Seniors who fall for these scams don’t gain anything, nor do their families.
On dating sites and social media, criminals often pose as potential romantic partners, but all they do is take advantage of seniors. These romance scammers feed on a victim’s desire for love and companionship, asking for money and stringing them along. Eventually, when they’ve gotten all they can get from a victim, they disappear, leaving heartbreak and financial ruin in their wake.
Protect Your Family and Yourself
Criminals are in the business to make money, and they’re always coming up with new ways to turn a profit. It’s up to you to protect your senior loved one, or family member in memory care, and yourself by learning about these scams and how to avoid them.
Don’t Open Unsolicited Attachments
Protect your family member’s information by asking them not to open suspicious email attachments. Don’t open anything from an unknown sender, and be choosy about downloads, as they may contain malware or spyware.
Monitor Their Accounts
Seniors need to protect their financial identities. Get started by contacting their financial institution and asking that protections be placed on all accounts. Next, monitor all accounts for fraudulent activity.
Don’t Pay Via Wire Transfer or Gift Card
Scammers who prey on the elderly rely on a polite demeanor and a gentle voice to get the job done. They sometimes get pushy, though, insisting that they will only accept wire transfers and gift cards as payment. Seniors shouldn’t fall for it. Don’t pay by Western Union, MoneyGram, or gift card, and don’t deposit a check if a caller asks for money after the deposit is made.
Keep Family Members Updated on Significant Decisions
Seniors make big purchases like everyone else. However, it’s a good idea to keep trusted family members and friends in the loop. After all, it can’t hurt to have a fresh set of eyes on the situation.
Don’t Pay Up Front
Where household renovations and repairs are concerned, be skeptical of scam artists who promise to do the job for less if they’re paid in full upfront. Scammers will take a senior’s money and run, but families can avoid these situations by consulting their insurers and not paying upfront.
Scams Can Happen to Anyone
According to a recent report, one in ten people over 60 has been victimized by a financial scammer. These people are easy targets because they’re trusting and tend to have more assets than other age groups. If your family member has been the victim of a fraudster, file a complaint today.
Take Action to Protect Your Elderly Family Members
The simplest way to stop fraud is to report it. The FBI and the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging have set up a fraud hotline that protects seniors and their families from scam calls, suspicious emails, and other cons. If a friend or family member has been victimized, call 855-303-9470 now.
If you’ve detected a phone or email scam, notify your local authorities right away. When seniors become the victim of fraud, they (or their families) should notify their financial institutions, change passwords, and get replacement cards.
Vista at Simi Valley offers modern amenities and comfortable living in a warm and welcoming setting. To learn more about our community and how we can help protect your loved one from fraud, contact us today.