Seniors Embrace New Technology
When we think of new technology, the thought of gaming, voice command, robotic devices, electronic devices, etc. come to mind and we don’t necessarily associate this with seniors. Actually, we think it is geared towards the young who have grown up in this world. In reality, the majority of people 65 and older are more connected than you think. We go online daily and use smartphones. Granted, we may not be gaming, at least not all of us, but we are keeping up with technology.
We al love the internet to learn, explore, shop, keep in touch with one another, but the more time we spend online, the more exposure we have to fraud and scams. Seniors are targeted because they have something to steel. Many own their homes and have retirement money saved up.
According to the FBI’s 2020 Elder Fraud Report, when seniors become victims of fraud, they tend to lose a higher dollar amount. For those 60+, the average loss was over $9,000 per victim with total annual losses totaling over $1 billion.
What makes seniors vulnerable to fraud and scams?
Growing up in a different era, many seniors are more trusting and open to strangers. As we grow older, many have lost friends or spouses and need or want to talk to others plays a role in welcoming a call from a stranger or salesperson.
Fraudsters know this, and have become skilled at posing as a “friend” to build up a relationship over time, a process known as grooming. Successful cons may play to concerns that are common among seniors such as a desire to leave a financial legacy for children and grandchildren, or a fear of being alone. The end goal is to gain their trust, then steal money or personal information.
Ignoring chats, calls, and texts is difficult for all of us. Why else would our smartphones connect to our cars so we can stay in touch, even when we are driving. It’s the same for seniors. “This is a generation that was raised to be polite, to answer the phone, answer the door, etc.. “But if someone calls you or messages you and you don’t recognize the name, you do not need to let them in. You need to be your own gatekeeper.”
Digital safety tips
As with anything else, just by learning about and being aware, gives you an advantage. Scams and scammers may change but there is a common thread that links them. Being able to identify common fraud types will help to protect you.
It’s easy for anyone online to make a false claim so always enter with caution when connecting with strangers. Remember, scammers like to “friend” people to start their scam rolling. If you have never met or been introduced to a person. It’s best to avoid chatting on line where personal information can be given out without even realizing.
Check out the ads… Your browsing social media and see an interesting ad, something you just might want to buy. Instead of clicking on the ad, check them out. Look up the name brand on line. Do they have a website? Are they listed with the BBB? What are their reviews? If there is little or no information, it is best to steer clear.
Watch out for romance:
Believe it or not, romance scams are one of the most common fraud types for seniors. When you think about it it’s easy to see why. As we age, we sometimes become more isolated and welcome new friendships. Remember the scammers are out there looking to start up their scams by “friending”. Friending then a little flirt, after all how good does it feel that someone is flirting with us after all these years. Then, the sting…all of a sudden, they need help with an emergency. Of course, you want to help, after all you are planning on that big date with them just next week. See how this gets perpetuated… It’s best for friendships and even romance to be with someone you have actually met with, in person. Maybe someone you volunteer with, or from a local group or church.
Watch out for the grandparent scam:
this involves an urgent request that sounds like it is coming from your grandchild. They need money to get out of a jam and usually ask you to make a wire transfer. This scam plays on your emotion, you are scared because your grandchild is in trouble. Scammers like this payment method because it’s like sending cash. Once you wire money, it’s difficult to trace who receives it and nearly impossible to get it back. If someone asks you to wire money, it should raise a red flag.
Criminals often use scam texts and fake telemarketing calls to phish for money and personal information. They may pose as someone you trust — like a rep from a government agency or charitable organization — and then ask for banking or personal information. Don’t give it to them. It’s best to not answer any call from an unknown number. You can even block calls from numbers not in your contact list. Here is how to block unknown numbers with an iPhone: with an android:
If you think you’re being targeted in a scam:
- Stop all contact with the scammer
- Reach out to someone you know and trust for help
- Call your local Better Business Bureau to report a scam or disreputable business practice
- If you shared money or personal information, contact your bank; monitor statements and credit reports carefully; and report the issue to the Social Security administration
Scams can easily lead to identity theft if any personal information is exposed. If you’re a Forest RapID member powered by Allstate, you can contact your Allstate customer care center rep at any time through your portal or mobile app. Allstate Restoration Specialists spend their days educating people about identity theft. They’re available to help you:
- Determine if something is a scam
- Report fraud to the proper authorities
- Build a game plan for protecting your identity
- Recognize when a scam has become identity theft
- Fully manage the recovery process if identity theft occurs
If you have a senior in your life, you can take steps to safeguard them from scams
As a family member or caregiver, you can help protect the older adults in your life by simply listening.
“If you’re an adult child and you have an elder parent, the most important thing you can do is pay attention to what’s going on in their life,” Huffman says.
Ask your folks about their habits, especially online and mobile device activity, and keep an ear out for any mention of a “new friend.” Have conversations with your loved one about online safety and common scam types. “Take an active role and talk openly with them about protecting themselves and their money,” Huffman adds.
If you’re a Forest RapID/Allstate Identity Protection member, add your parents to your account. The plan covers up to 5 family members. See Details Here: Identity Protection | Forest Security
To add a family member, follow these simple steps:
- Log in to the Allstate Identity Protection portal
- Click the icon in the top right-hand corner
- Tap “Manage family members”
- Click “Add new member”
- Enter your loved one’s details for monitoring
From there, we’ll let you know if we spot their information where it shouldn’t be.
Safeguarding your entire family from identity fraud is a mission we take seriously.
Forest’s RapID is an easy and affordable way for complete family protection – See more here Identity Protection | Forest Security or call us today at 708-452-2000