Did you know that most victims of scams are mature adults? Unfortunately, they are less familiar with technology, and more likely to lose their money to scammers. Additionally, they tend to be more naïve and trusting towards younger people, hence often falling prey to scammers’ manipulations. Unsurprisingly, there has also been a rise in coronavirus scams and credit scams that target this age group. Thus, it is important to help and teach your loved ones how to protect themselves from scammers. Here are some of the most common scams targeting the elderly that you should be aware of.
Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams
These types of scams usually start with a call or email to your loved ones, informing them that they have won a monetary prize from the sweepstake or lottery. They will then ask for a payment to cover taxes or customs duties to receive the prize. Thus, matured adults tend to fall for it due to the false hopes of monetary gains. However, it is important to remind your loved ones that even if they provide evidence of the prize in a form of a check, fake checks exist! Banks take time to process and reject these fake checks. Hence, giving scammers sufficient time to steal their money, without them realizing it until the check is rejected, and it is too late to obtain their money back. Thus, encourage your family members to keep their money and personal bank information safe from such scammers. After all, real lotteries or sweepstakes will never ask for their advanced money!
Another common scam that your loved ones may fall for is investment schemes. Scammers may pose as financial advisors and offer a once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunity or promise large financial returns as long as they invest in them. They might also add on a time limit in an attempt to rush your family members to make a rash and uninformed decision. This is extremely dangerous, especially since your loved ones are already planning for retirement or managing their savings after they finish working. That is a large sum of money that scammers can drain away. Thus, remind your loved ones that if it is too good to be true, it is most likely a scam! Above all, financial advisors will not make unsolicited calls or emails and always double-check all the information with other people.
The Grandparent Scam
This scam is extremely dangerous because it plays on the emotions of your loved ones. In this case, scammers will claim to be their grandchild and pretend to be in an urgent situation that needs money immediately. How did the scammers convince your loved ones they are their “grandchild” then? Typically, they will ask your family members to guess who is calling and then take on the persona and pretend to be that grandchild. Additionally, they might also pretend to be distraught and say “do not tell mom or dad”, thus forcing your loved ones to keep the information to themselves. So what should your family members do then? Resist the temptation to give the money immediately, and instead call their real grandchild’s home or cell number until they pick up. Most importantly, do not send any money because such scammers are also known to contact victims several times to ask for more money over time.