Scams Targeting Seniors: New Twists on Old Styles

Scams targeting seniors get more and more sophisticated every year. Are they brand new scams? Not entirely, no. They are age old scams that still work. People become aware of what they are and so scammers use new wrinkles to get new victims. Some of the most common ones are scams targeting seniors.

Scams Targeting Seniors

Why seniors? Most people believe that seniors are easy targets because they are suffering mental decline. This can be true, older people do often suffer senility and dementia. However, most often it is the fact is that older people can have sizable nest eggs. That is the attractive item most scammers are looking for. 

Some Tips For Seniors

  • Don’t give personal details on Social Media
  • Avoid clicking on links in eMails
  • Use strong passwords on your devices
  • Install antiviral software to avoid malware
  • Reach out to trusted people for advice before acting.

Always try to learn new ways to keep yourself safe and secure. Scammers get more and more sophisticated everyday, you must also.

Scams Used Most To Target Seniors

Scams use tactics we are not used to by employing social engineering to trick everybody, not only seniors.They prey on our senses, use confusion or present offers that bait us.

Update 11/2/20 – 60 Charged In 300 Million Phone Scam Targeting Seniors

MINNEAPOLIS — Associated Press has reported Sixty people have been charged in a widespread scam that authorities say netted $300 million from more than 150,000 elderly and vulnerable people nationwide The U.S. attorney’s office in Minnesota announced Wednesday, that a magazine telemarketing scheme was used to bilk the aged of their savings with false claims of money owed for magazine subscriptions.

The fraudsters falsely claimed to be calling from Magazine companies the elderly had subscriptions with and offered a phoney subscription offer that would reduce their subscription costs. In reality it was expensive new phony subscriptions with fake magazine companies. They even went so far as offer cancellation payment for the people who tried to cancel the phony subscriptions.

The U.S. attorney’s office says the fraudulent companies were operating in Minnesota, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, California, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Arkansas. The scam occurred over a period of 20 years and involved all levels of telemarketing from fake companies, salespeople and involved software programs that tracked orders, sales, and other customer information.

U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald describes the scam as “the largest elder fraud scheme in the U.S.”

If It Sounds Too Good To Be True, It Usually Is!

The scam worked because the aged and elderly always look for a bargain to try to cut expenses. When fraudsters present us with ways to save money by doing certain things, they appeal to our greed.

Scams Targeting Seniors-picture of sale sign

This in turn tends to allow our brains to “let our guard down” and do something we normally wouldn’t do. For instance, if it seems like a good deal, it is attractive. Using a time factor like “sale Ends Soon” makes us eager to buy before the time runs out and the sale ends.

When it sounds like we can get a large return on our money, it entices people to try it.This kind of wording brings out the Greed factor. We are strongly influenced by it.

Sadly, greed  is a human reasoning fault. Greed has been proven to be influenced more by several other factors. Time pressure, monetary gain, and even our environment can play a role.

 Other Ways Scams Target Seniors

  • Time pressure

We have heard it many times before, “Hurry, offer is limited! Don’t wait, buy it now, before it is too late.” It is an effective sales gimmick by retailers as well as scammers.

It short circuits our ability to think and reason properly. It also tricks us into scams we may not think through properly. Always beware of offers that expire quickly, like “Today Only”or  “Until Midnight Tonight”.

  • Monetary Savings

Pushy phrases and limited time to act, make us feel the urgency, and prod us to comply. You hear “Sale prices, Today Only!”, or you see a timer counting down and “Once it hits zero, this offer is gone” The price will be much higher. This is often a gimmick used on websites and it is there everyday, counting down again and again. Why? Because it sells!

Chances are you will get the same message tomorrow and every time you log in, especially if it is a fake website.

  • Fake Lottery

When you get a notice like “You’ve won!” All you need to do is send a small fee.” The small fee is the scam! Don’t fall for it!

These are nothing more than sales pitches! But they work! People send their hard earned money, year after year.

Your Environment Can Make A Difference In Scams Targeting Seniors

You may feel safer inside your home, and that could in turn make you feel more secure.Maybe you would send money easier. On the other hand, when you are in public, maybe you might feel more vulnerable. Then you might be less likely to give up money. Human nature is a funny thing.

Research into the decision making process has proven that when we are pressured by time constraints, and increased profit motives, we reason using psychology instead of reasoning processes. This results in poor judgement and bad decisions. Scammers know this, and use it against us!

Thieves Need To Distract Us To Take Advantage Of Us

The email has made this easier, because they are sent right into our computers.Then, the thieves make it appear as if they have some personal information, and act like they are authorities. This is how they fool us! If we believe it is our bank or utility company or even our own relatives, we are more likely to respond.

 Scams Targeting Seniors Use Phishing Emails

These may seem to be legitimate emails from the bank, or utilities company. But they are simply tricks to get information from you. Don’t click on any links provided in the phishing email.

Scams Targeting Seniors-pIcture of phone saying call now

Always, call the bank or utility company and confirm the letter. Sometimes, that is all it takes to thwart the thieves.Look the actual phone number up, don’t use any numbers given to you in an email.

Thieves can impersonate anyone and provide links to take us to fake sites that they create to appear to be legitimate. So, if people can be pressured to act quickly, and send money before the offer ends, they are working the smoke and mirrors. Do not fall for the routine!

Even if they claim to be a relative, ask a few questions that only they would know the correct answer. This could be names of sisters, or other relatives, or locations you visited on birthdays, or holidays.

Highly Customized Emails Are Called Spear Phishing

Spear phishing implies exactly what the name refers to. These are emails that target specific people using personal information that refers to your bank or maybe your tax return. These also could include instructions for you to follow. These emails are the most effective because they have been personalized and contain a special set of instructions for the victim.

Some could be click the following link or call a number provided.The scammer has to research his victim or have some information already in his possession to accomplish this feat.Then, he asks the victim to contact him or visit his fake website.

Once the victim sees personalized information, they tend to think the scammer is sincere. The only way to know for sure is to do your own research and contact the “supposed sender” in person. Never use any phone numbers supplied in any email offer ever! Never click on any links inside any email. Always look up the number in public listings like the phone book, and contact the party yourself.

Fake Deliveries

This is a good angle also. When we see an email that tells use about some delivery, we start thinking we forgot to pick something up.You then see a link that appears to be the store or delivery service. When you click the link, malware invades your computer.

Don’t be fooled! Scammers use every trick! Before you click any links,call the store where you made the purchase. If you don’t recognize the purchase, it likely isn’t real. The Federal trade Commission has a link on their site.Fake delivery notices to your inbox.

Mobile Phone Scams Targeting Seniors

Even more sophisticated scams now use the mobile phone to contact you. These are slick! You are asked a question, then your yes answer is recorded. This will be used to purchase items in your name, don’t be fooled! Always ask another question, before you say yes! Find out who they are! The recent “Can you hear me scam” is a prime example.

However, you can also be prompted to enter passwords or pins that may be rejected to get several passwords entered by the victim. Sometimes you may be transferred to fake service reps and asked for more information. Banks and people such as the IRS do not call you asking for passwords and personal information. Don’t give personal information to people on the phone.

These scams are not new. They are just scams that have been revised and given a new look are appeal. In today’s world you must be suspect of everything. Be sure to question any email that is requesting information. Be careful not to click on any link before you are sure it is legitimate.

Read More about Scams and Frauds Here

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. Thanks for taking the time to read my article and be sure to check out my #1 way to avoid scams.

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Chas The Owner Of Help For Scams And Frauds

I am Chas, creator and founder of Help For Scams And Frauds. I started affiliate marketing and earning money online in 2015. And I can tell you, anyone can do this. But, in order to build a business the right way you must have the right training and avoid the get rich quick schemes.

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