Senior citizens have long been targeted by scammers who may take advantage of their trust, needs, and limited technological proficiency. According to Medical Alert Advice, an organization dedicated to seniors’ well-being, “20% of Americans who are over 65 have been financially taken advantage of and over 80% of telemarketing scams prey on victims over the age of 60.”
Continuously monitoring the ever-evolving world of scams, SDC CPAs has compiled a list of six scams that pose a threat to senior citizens in 2021.
An extremely common scam, especially following tax season, involves phone calls made by phony IRS officers. On these calls, the alleged IRS officer may ask for personal information under threat of a steep fine or request banking information with the promise of delivering a refund.
Protecting against these scams is simple enough, though. The IRS does not call citizens. Communications will come by mail instead. Advise the seniors in your life that if they receive a call claiming to be from the IRS, they should simply hang up the phone.
Compromised Account Scams
An increasingly popular scam is a subset of email phishing that involves receiving an email claiming that your bank or PayPal account has been compromised. These emails may convincingly recreate the style and tone of official bank communications. The links in these fraudulent emails may install malware and steal personal information.
To avoid falling victim to these scams, check the sender’s address for irregularities and avoid following email links. Instead, visit the website and initiate a password reset. You can help family members protect themselves by having them speak to you or an expert if they suspect an account has been compromised.
Remote Access Scams
One tech scam to which elders are particularly vulnerable is phony tech support scams. These scams may begin with a phishing email or phone call asking for remote access to a computer. The scammers may pose as tech support representatives from an internet service provider or the computer manufacturer.
It is recommended that you inform seniors that they should never provide remote access, as it gives scammers a free ticket to steal information and install malware.
Helping the seniors in your life avoid being exploited by scammers requires that you understand the threats they face and ensure that they know to act cautiously or ask for help.