If your elderly parent or loved one is living alone, you might be worried that they might become a victim of crime, particularly the scams that have gotten increasingly common as technology progresses. This is an unfortunate problem that many people have to deal with, especially since scams disproportionately affect individuals who are older. In fact, over five million cases of fraud targeting older adults happen in the United States each year.
To help prevent this, we have compiled a list of common scams that target the elderly to look out for.
Advance Fee Scams
This is a very large category of scams that all have one common characteristic – the scammer generally asks for an up-front sum of money in exchange for a larger reward. This can be in relation to investments, inheritances, or lottery and sweepstakes. There is generally some kind of payment or admin payment that needs to be made so that the fraudster can facilitate the transfer of their money. However, once the amount has been transferred, no money is ever received.
This is a particularly cruel joke that leverages on an older adult’s love for their family. Posing as a younger family member, the fraudster will claim that they have been hurt or are in some form of distress that requires an immediate sum of cash. Examples include bail money, money to fly home, or other emergencies. When dealing with these types of scams, make sure that they know to not be rushed into making a decision. Ask specific questions that only real family members would know to verify their identity.
Tech Support Scams
These have become increasingly common over the years, appearing in many forms over the phone and online. Scammers will get in contact with their victim posing as large tech companies like Google or Microsoft claiming that their account has a virus or is currently broken. They will then request access to your accounts, request for a fee to fix it, or instruct you to log into accounts that contain banking or personal information. It is important to note that tech companies do not proactively contact their customers for issues, you must contact them for support. This means that anyone who poses as a technician is likely a scammer if you have not made a move to reach out first.
Potential Love Interest Scam
These generally take place over social media or on dating apps where scammers target older adults who are isolated and lonely. They pose as a potential love interest and earn their trust, before asking for gifts or money. More importantly, they might ask for compromising information or photos so that they can blackmail their victim. It is important that your loved one is aware of such scams and to be careful when meeting new people online.
If you are feeling about your parent or loved one falling prey to this scam or have other safety concerns, perhaps it might be time to consider a placement in a senior living community. Unfortunately, while they are our precious family members, many people view older people as the perfect victim. Here at Mariposa, we have created a safe environment for all our residents. Even if your loved one has dementia or other memory-lapse conditions, you can have peace of mind that our secure memory care environment will protect them from wandering or getting lost.
For more information on our different housing options, programs, and amenities, contact us today by filling in this online form or by calling 561.332.4899.