The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), US has released an educational guideline to teach seniors about frauds and scams perpetuated by financial criminals against them. Millions of elderly Americans are affected by such fraud schemes every year. Criminals try to gain the trust of the elderly and contact them through emails, phones or even TV and radio. A trusting nature, financial savings and property make seniors a lucrative target group for financial criminals. Scammers also take advantage of the seniors’ lack of the know-how and the readiness to report such crimes. As a result, seniors are reporting more than $3 billion in losses every year.
Fraudsters make use of a variety of schemes to trap the elderly. Romance scams involve criminals posing as potential romantic partners online. Tech support scams involve criminals posing as experts trying to fix non-existent computer issues while they attempt to gain remote access to the victims’ sensitive information. Other common scams involve criminals pretending to be relatives in financial need, government officials threatening prosecution, or charitable organizations seeking donations. Sometimes, scammers also use illegitimate advertisements about services like reverse mortgages and credit repair to lure their victims.
It is important that the elderly recognize such scam attempts as soon as possible and stop communicating with the scammer(s). Seniors should try to look for information about the proposed offers online to see if others have reported similar scams. They must not fall for the sense of urgency that criminals try to create in these situations. Additionally, one must never share any personal information or artifacts with unverified people or businesses. It is also a good idea to update all anti-virus software and install pop-up blockers to ward off malware. One must also refrain from opening attachments from unknown people. If something suspicious or untoward does happen, victims must contact the police and their banks immediately.