IRS impersonations, lottery scams, family member impersonations or social security scams are increasing in numbers….and becoming more sophisticated each day.. As more and more Seniors opt into having cell phones, it means they are becoming more connected to loved ones- but more exposed to these crafty predators.
So why are seniors the target of scams?
“According to a 2016 study, people 50 and older hold 83% of the wealth in America; households headed by people in their 70s and 80s tend to have the highest median net worth (Brancaccio, 2019)”. As the holders of wealth, it is clear why seniors are targeted. That, and they are less familiar with technology, as say a millennial is. So navigating phishing emails and IRS fraud calls can be unfamiliar territory. Younger adults down to elementary school students receive training and lessons on how to properly use technology. They are taught not to put personal information out on the Internet and the consequence of what can happen if that information is exposed.
The other piece of scamming is that it is so hard to find the thief. Catching fraudsters is no easy feat, even though millions of victims report the abuse. David Brancaccio, a respected researcher on the brain and aging, reported a story about a victim.
“I met with one family that was able to win a partial restitution after a con woman persuaded a dad in his 90s that she was his “special friend” and in need of money for treatment for “cancer.” The victim’s kids worked on this for many months, one a law school professor, the other a former prosecutor.
But….. There is a Solution
Education is important- not just to seniors and baby boomers, but also for everyone that they socialize with (family, care takers, social services). It is important to highlight exactly what spam calls are, what to look for, how to detect them, what to do if you receive one, and how to report it.
Know the Warning Signs
· Do you recognize the person or number?
· Is the robocall asking you to press numbers to be directed somewhere?
· Are you being asked to provide personal information?
Don’t be proud, Report the Abuse. It is the safe thing to do…