Fraud continues to impact people of every age, yet those over the age of 60 report more financial loss than any other portion of the population. Elders between the ages of 60-65 report an average loss of $500 per successful fraud attempt. That number increases right along with age. Those 80 and older lose an average of $1500 per fraudulent attack.
If you are a member of our elderly population—or if you have a loved one who is—be aware of the following common scams. Each one affects seniors 60+ at a higher rate than any other age group. Once you know how the scam works, you’ll be far less likely to fall victim to it.
Romance scams are the most costly for victimized elders. Those between the ages of 70-79 report an average $10,000 loss for each successful romance-based scam.
A romance scammer wants to make you fall in love with them—perhaps even invite them to your home. However, once they get in close you’ll discover that they only wanted to steal from you.
How to protect yourself: Digitally, do your research and take it slow. Ensure that the person you’re talking to is who they say they are. If you suspect that the relationship is a scam, cut all ties.
If you gave out personal information such as your address to this person, have a high-quality security system with backup communications and video surveillance installed just in case. Not only will you be protected from the scammer, but also from bad actors of all kinds.
Sweepstakes, Prize, and Lottery Scams
A windfall of cash is always an exciting prospect—which is exactly what the scammers are counting on. They may contact you through phone call, email or text to alert you that you’ve won a prize of some kind. In exchange, they’ll either want you to pay to receive it, or they’ll want access to some of your private financial information in order to “send you your prize.” They’ll steal your information, and you’ll be left waiting for a prize that never comes.
How to protect yourself: Random messages from unknown sources about prizes or money are almost always fake. A good rule of thumb is to discount all messages of potential prize money unless you know you entered a legitimate contest yourself.
Fake Tech Support
This type of scam is often executed via phone call. You may receive a call from someone claiming to be tech support. They’ll want to help you solve a problem with your computer. In order to do so, they’ll need you to pay for the service.
You don’t really have a problem with your computer, but they will try to convince you that you do. Once they take your credit card number over the phone, they have access to your funds.
How to protect yourself: If you receive a call like this from a “tech support professional” hang up immediately. Never give out your personal information such as social security or account numbers to these types of callers. If you suspect there actually is a problem with your computer, contact a real computer repair shop.
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