Scams targeting older adults take many forms, including callers posing as grandchildren in need of financial assistance. Scams can come in the form of emails directly people to fake bank websites where cons collect legion credentials.
The pandemic has increased our isolation, especially older adults. While technology helps us stay connected, it has also opened new doors to scammers.
For the first time ever, scammers initiated contact with older adults online more often than they did by phone. Phone scams, however, still result in the highest monetary losses. The FTC defines older adults as those age 60 and over.
Here are some tips to safeguard assets to prevent scams:
1. Register your phone to the National Do Not Call Registry.
2. Check with your phone company about their own call blocking services.
3. Check the app store for third party apps that block robocalls.
4. Always check the address of the email before opening or clicking on anything in the message. Emails sent from scammers usually contain various numbers or symbols rather than the legitimate address. If there is a misspelling, it is a scam email.
5. Unsubscribe from marketing emails. Go to NortonLifeLock to learn how to do so.
6. Call the AARP fraud watch helpline at 877-908-3360.
7. Request not to receive certain kinds of U.S. mail through a service called DMAchoice.
8. Set up direct deposits for income such as Social Security, pensions and dividends so that physical checks are not sent to the home.
9. Keep an eye on spending activity and ask the bank to send alerts of suspicious activity or charges.
The bottom line is to be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to fraud.
If you suspect that you or a loved one has been the victim of fraud, call the National Elder Fraud hotline at 833-372-8311.