Many of us often receive unwanted phone calls, sometimes telling us we owe money or even asking for our social security numbers. Phone scams are frustrating and even more frustrating when these scammers target our loved seniors.
The FBI’s website highlights why seniors are often targeted by scammers. Here are a few reasons that the FBI lists as to why seniors are targeted.
- “Senior citizens are most likely to have a “nest egg,” own their home, and/or have excellent credit—all of which make them attractive to con artists.”
- “People who grew up in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s were generally raised to be polite and trusting. Con artists exploit these traits, knowing that it is difficult or impossible for these individuals to say “no” or just hang up the telephone.”
- “Older Americans are less likely to report a fraud because they don’t know who to report it to, are too ashamed at having been scammed, or don’t know they have been scammed. Elderly victims may not report crimes, for example, because they are concerned that relatives may think the victims no longer have the mental capacity to take care of their own financial affairs.”
These are a few reasons why seniors are often involved in phone scams. Once they pick up a phone call from an unknown number, they are then added to a list.
Scammers can present themselves as the IRS, trying to trick seniors into believing they need to take direct action or give information about themselves, however, the IRS does not call? people. Scammers may even pretend to be grandkids. Seniors often don’t verify and may give into the scam.
Educate your seniors to help prevent them being subject to phone scams. Phone scams often include things such as “act now” or “you must send money” or give very personal information. Advise them to not give personal information over the phone. If they are not familiar with the company, be sure to research. If you are offered a “free prize” be sure to get more information and do not provide your information right away.
Help seniors by educating them on what phone scams are and how to deal with them. If they are subject to one, be sure to report it to local or federal law enforcement agencies.
For more advice on phone scams visit the FBI website for important information on scams and safety for seniors.