January 14, 2020

How Caregivers Can Protect Seniors from Phone and Internet Scams

Filed under: Finances,Senior Safety — Tags: — seniorlivingguide @ 2:56 pm

As a caregiver, you are committed to keeping the seniors in your life safe from harm. With an increasing number of scams targeting seniors, it is more important than ever to learn how to stay safe.

Seniors lose billions of dollars a year due to these scams and many of these cases are never reported due to embarrassment or shame.

Caregivers can help protect against scams by teaching seniors the warning signs. Every call or email should be scrutinized to make sure that it is legitimate.

Common Scams to Look Out For
There are a ton of phone and internet scams that target seniors. Remember scammers are professionals. They know just what to say and how to say it to convince you into doing something you would not normally do.

Here are some of the common scams to look out for and warn your seniors about.

  • Romance/Sweetheart scams: these scams use online dating sites or social media to trick seniors into a romantic relationship before asking them for money
  • Lottery/Sweepstakes scams: this involves an email or call that claims the person won something (a new car or money) or is the beneficiary of an inheritance, they are manipulated and coerced to believe taxes must be paid ahead of time to receive the funds
  • IRS scams: scammers pretend to be the IRS, Law Enforcement and FBI agents stating there is a warrant out for your arrest and ask for payment by gift cards or money transfers
  • Grandparent scams: this is a call from a scammer that claims your grandchild or family member is in trouble and asks for immediate payment to help them
  • Text Message or Voicemail scams: these scams may ask for personal information or leave threatening messages

Tips to Keep Seniors Safe
A good rule of thumb to live by is that if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is. So make sure seniors know a sudden call or email which claims you’ve won money is likely a scam.

Scammers often set up fake social media accounts and take time to earn trust before they ask for money. Make sure seniors know they should never wire money, purchase gift cards, or send other expensive items to someone they don’t actually know, even if they have talked online.

Show seniors examples of phishing emails that mimic the IRS or Social Security Administration. Get them into the habit of checking every link before they click on them or open attachments, as they could be malicious. Also they should have the actual phone numbers of these important agencies so they can reach out directly with questions instead of responding to an unexpected email or call.

Make sure seniors know not to provide information via phone, especially a call which again they did not initiate themselves. It is always better to hang up and call the organization directly.

Being proactive about monitoring phone calls, emails, and text messages is the best way to prevent falling for a scam. If you or someone you know has fallen victim to a scam, report any concerns to your local law enforcement agency.

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