Scam Calls Are Targeting Seniors Disproportionately

March 18, 2024

A trusting nature is not a bad thing. Unfortunately, many seniors place their trust in the wrong people. In 2022, people over the age of 60 reported $3.1 billion in losses from scam calls according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) [National Council on Aging]. Seniors often feel lonely, and scammers know this. They prey on this feeling of loneliness by posing as friendly callers. Seniors are less familiar with the current strategies scammers use than the younger generations, which makes seniors more likely to comply with the scammer’s demands. Seniors face extreme emotional distress due to financial loss from these scams. Educating yourself and your loved ones about these scam calls can provide peace of mind, a sense of empowerment, and financial protection.

Common Scams Targeting Seniors

Government Impersonation Scams

Scammers call pretending to work for government departments such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Social Security Administration, or Medicaid. Scammers may call informing targets that authorities will show up to your door to arrest them or put them in jail if they dont immediately pay money that they didn’t know they owed to the IRS [National Council on Aging]. Scammers utilize phone calls, texts, emails, or social media to ask for personal information. They make up various reasons as to why you need to give them this information. None of it is true. Just delete, ignore, or hangup if you are targeted.

Grandparent Scams

Scammers will call and impersonate a grandchild, or another family member, in distress and say they need immediate financial support. These scammers can even make it appear as if the caller ID is authentic [Federal Communications Commission]. It’s possible that they may say that they have been in an accident or arrested and insist you don’t tell “Mom or Dad.” Victims of these scammers may then hear from a “lawyer” asking for payment.

Tech Support Scams

Using phone calls, pop-up warnings, and online ads, scammers target victims. They call and claim to be a computer technician from a notable company. They manage to convince people to give remote access to their devices to run diagnostic tests. They will then try to get victims to fix a problem that does not exist [Federal Trade Commission]. Pop-ups may also appear as an error message from an operating system or antivirus software, and these scammers will use logos from trusted companies or websites and a phone number for people to call. Tech support scammers may try to get their websites to appear when someone searches for tech support. They may even run ads. These scammers will list a phone number for their targets to call.

Other common scams may include sweepstakes scams, [Federal Trade Commission] lottery scams [Federal Trade Commission], and investment scams [Federal Trade Commission].  

Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones

It’s important you research common scam tactics to ensure your safety as well as the safety of your loved ones. Never share your personal details over the phone, especially with people you don’t know. Ask unknown callers to verify their identity through official channels before you take any further action. Do not rush into any decisions. It’s vital you stay calm in these situations. Take the necessary time to make sure unknown callers are who they say they are. It’s important to stay vigilant when it comes to scam calls.

Act Against Scam Calls Now

Please share this post with your loved ones, so they can better protect themselves against these vile tactics used to take advantage of people.  

If you or a loved one have recently been targeted by a scam or fraud, please call the Department of Justice’s National Elder Fraud Hotline at 833-FRAUD-11 (833 – 372 – 8311).  

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