As our society becomes more and more immersed in technology, the ways to con people have increased dramatically. Scams targeting senior citizens have become rampant, as thieves devise ways to take advantage of a vulnerable population who they assume are easy targets with deep pockets. Here are some of the more common internet and telephone scams to watch out for.
One of the most devious and manipulative cons is the “Grandparent Scam.” Perpetrators call the victims, posing as a grandchild (or other relative) who is in dire financial or legal trouble. Sometimes they even claim to be a grandchild who has been kidnapped and held for ransom. The scammers then ask the victims to keep this a secret from the rest of the family, and to wire money in order to help the “grandchild.”
Con artists often use Facebook to gather information about the grandchild to make the story more believable, but will often falter if you start asking them more questions only the grandchild would know. If you receive a fishy call like this, it is best to hang up and call your grandchild’s (or their parents’) actual phone number and see if the story checks out.
Many scammers pose as legitimate businesses, tricking seniors into giving out financial information such as bank account and credit card numbers. Beware of unsolicited emails or phone calls promising “deals” on medical care, anti-aging products, funeral costs, and “winning” of a sweepstakes or lottery.
The emails and websites are often made to look very convincing and mimic the look of legitimate companies, which can be tricky. It’s good to hang up the phone and leave the email unanswered, and inquire directly with the company’s official website and phone number.
Unfortunately, there are many more scams targeting seniors. The video below outlines the most common ones. Be aware, and warn your loved ones!
TC currently lives in the soggy Pacific Northwest, bellied up to a sun lamp. In addition to writing, she enjoys photography and estate sales, and is the proud mother to an ever-growing collection of cacti.