Scams that target the elderly have been problematic for generations, and the problem is even worse thanks to the Internet. The elderly are particularly susceptible to being hoodwinked through various online scams, largely because they weren't raised with the familiarity of normal online interactions. Criminals and identity thieves pray on older adults, banking on the notion they'll be more trusting, have less online security and more money in their bank accounts. Listed below are four of the most common scams that cyber criminals use to victimize the elderly.
Seemingly Official Emails That Ask For Personal Information
Sometimes online predators pose as companies that elderly people use, and they send them emails requesting personal information that can be used to steal their identities. Some of the information they'll request includes birth dates, Social Security numbers, bank account numbers or secret question answers. Sometimes, this information is used to fraudulently open bank accounts or credit cards that identity thieves use for their own gain. An elderly person might not know that this is a scam, and thus willingly provid such detailed information to the wrong people.
Requests Of Money Or Donations To Charities
Another way that criminals target the elderly is through online donation procedures or charitable scams that request funds and donations posing as legitimate organizations like the Red Cross or United Way. Seniors who have a history of giving or belong to charitable organizations are specifically targeted in these schemes. People who have thought they were giving to charities have been bilked out of thousands and thousands of dollars. Con artists will do anything, even targeting the unsuspecting elderly to get money through fraudulent charities. It's sad, but true.
Any Password Requests
Never give your password to anyone who is requesting it. It is a scam that many elderly fall for. A common example of this type of scam is an email that appears to be from your bank; in the email, the bank may say it needs your password in order to reset your account following suspicious activity. In reality, the email may not be from your bank, and you might be handing cyber criminals the keys to your savings. The elderly sometimes take these exchanges at face value, believing the person who is contacting them is legitimate.
People Posing As Family or Friends Requesting Information
This problem is known as "Catfishing." It's a relatively new term, but gets used all the time in regards to Facebook. People with ill intent can find out a lot of information about an elderly person's family. Then they can open up a new account, even steal the right photos to pose as that person's family member to contact them and make the elderly person believe that they are talking to their niece, nephew, or even a beloved grandchild for example. Money is usually the motivation in a Catfishing scam.
So if you are responsible for the care and well being of an elderly loved one, make sure that if they use the internet then they are educated on these scams. Knowledge is the best safety measure for protecting oneself from hackers and criminals online.