According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), more than 3.5 million older Americans are victims of financial exploitation each year. The types of senior scammers elders are most likely to fall victim to are:
- Online shopping scams
- Imposter scams
- Tech support scams
- Sweepstakes scams
- Romance scams
Criminals who prey on the elderly use a variety of tactics to make money, including scam phone calls, online theft, email scams, and postal service mail fraud.
Here are five ways to protect your senior loved one from being victimized by fraudsters and scammers:
Check their finances regularly
Checking bank, investment, and credit card statements at least weekly can keep you apprised of any irregularities. Look for large ATM withdrawals your parent didn’t make, credit card purchases of items they don’t need, or new names added to their account.
Make sure your name is added to each of their accounts so you can receive monthly statements and email notifications concerning transactions. Unfortunately, many seniors don’t check their statements and never report fraudulent transactions.
Educate them about elder fraud scams
If your parent knows that scammers often target seniors, they’ll be less likely to be taken advantage of. Let them know that in addition to being scammed by junk mail, fraudsters also use phone calls, email, and websites to take advantage of seniors.
Also, advise your loved one to never give out any personal information over the phone, including their social security number, credit card number, and Medicare I.D. number.
Remove their name from call lists
Scammers often get their victims’ names from telemarketing lists. Help your senior loved one sign up for the National Do Not Call registry. It’s a free service provided by the FTC, and they can sign up by calling (888) 382-1222 or registering online.
Let them know they shouldn’t engage in conversations with people they don’t know and to hang up if telemarketed.
Teach them about online and social media fraud
If your older adult spends time online, they need to learn about the dangers