Nowadays, scammers like to target seniors. This is because they’re easy to manipulate and woo, hence scammers won’t have a hard time gaining their trust and make them believe that they’re helping out a friend or investing in something profitable.
A lot of people from around the world have fallen victim to phone scams every day. Unfortunately, the majority of these people are seniors. In addition to health concerns, it’s also a challenge for seniors to protect themselves from phone scams. There’s still a long way to go in ultimately stopping fraud targeting our elders. This is why it’s your job to serve as their first line of defense against these scams. Educating seniors about scams can provide them with the know-how so they can avoid being a victim of fraudulent acts.
With that said, here are five ways to teach seniors how to avoid scams:
1. Educate Your Senior About What Scam Is
There are many types of scams. A scam is a ploy where a scammer attempts to deceive someone into giving them money or any other thing that has monetary value. The most common type of scam is the one that’s usually done over the phone.
A phone scam is when a scammer calls a senior and pretends to be someone working from a government agency. Scammers will try to persuade a senior to get money or personal information from them, such as bank account numbers or social security numbers.
What makes seniors more vulnerable to phone scams is that they can’t figure out whether a particular call is a scam or not. Since scammers are pretty good at getting seniors to trust them, let your elderly folks know that when a total stranger is calling them out of the blue and is asking for money or personal information, it’s a scam.
As a senior, phone scams are one of the most important things you should be aware of, as you’ll never know when you’re going to be a victim.
2. Keep In Touch With Your Elders
Elderly folks tend to isolate themselves due to plenty of reasons. However, this is where your seniors are the most vulnerable. As such, you need to stay in touch with your elders regularly, especially if they’re living at a senior home. Phone scams targeting seniors are popping up recently where scammers pretend to be a relative or a close friend asking for money.
Tell your seniors to ignore texts or calls and to never wire money over the phone without confirming the identity of the caller or sender. You should be suspicious if your senior has a new ‘best friend’ out of the blue, too. This could indicate that there’s someone trying to get close to your elderly folk for unknown reasons.
By keeping in touch with your senior, you’ll more easily spot the signs of phone scams that are targeting your elderly folks.
3. Block Spam Calls
Most of the seniors don’t know the nature of spam calls. As a result, they just answer these calls, increasing their risk of becoming a victim of scams. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce and block these spam calls on your senior’s phone.
For instance, you can register your senior’s phone number to the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call Registry. By doing so, you’ll be able to reduce the number of calls or text messages received on their phone. However, this only prevents legitimate telemarketers from calling or sending text messages to your senior. So, you still need to tell them to be suspicious if they get calls or texts from a stranger.
4. Help Them Monitor Their Financial Accounts
Your elderly folks may have already been fallen victim to phone scams and fraud without them knowing. This is why you need to help them monitor their financial accounts so they’ll know how to spot the signs of fraud and scams.
To start, you should let them know the importance of setting up online access for all their financial accounts using strong passwords. If your elderly folks think that this is risky, tell them how convenient it is for them to check their financial accounts regularly for any suspicious activity instead of waiting for the monthly account statement to arrive.
Also, help them set up alerts or notifications on all their bank and credit card accounts. This way, they can be notified by email or text message of any recent activities on their accounts. These alerts will help your seniors identify any fraudulent use of their debit and credit cards.
5. Tell Your Seniors To Ignore Robocalls
Another common type of phone scam targeting elderly folks is robocalls. Robocalls are phone calls that usually come with a prerecorded message. Robocalls are very annoying as they come in at regular intervals in a single day.
Robocalls are often used by scammers for ‘phishing.’ This is where the scammer attempts to get your personal information, such as social security numbers or bank account numbers, by pretending they’re from a bank or credit card company. Scammers use robocalls as a way to convince you that their message is genuine and important so you’ll have to respond or call them back.
Robocall scammers won’t stop calling you until they’ve gotten what they want from you. The best way to teach your seniors how to avoid robocalls is to hang up without responding or simply ignore these calls.
Online frauds and phone scams targeting seniors are extremely deceptive because they’re taking advantage of the fact that elderly folks are emotional. While you can’t prevent seniors from being targeted by online frauds and phone scams, you should equip them with the know-how so they can protect themselves against these criminal acts.
Educate your elderly folks about everything there is to know about phone scams so you can ensure they’re protected against these things even if you’re not on their side all the time. This way, your seniors will be able to outsmart these tricky thieves, preventing them from losing their money.